Biviano weighs future after primary loss
by Daniel Bush
Sep 28, 2010 | 1391 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Doug Biviano is not happy that he lost his Assembly race. Who would be?

Campaigning for elected office is a grind, after all. Especially in 100-degree weather in a Brooklyn district largely devoted to Assemblywoman Joan Millman, who beat Biviano handily by a margin of nearly fifty points in the September primary.

Still, Biviano did not go unnoticed in the 52nd Assembly District. Far from it.

Behind the eight ball from the start, with less money and far less name recognition, and despite low voter turnout (an outcome which favors incumbents), over 2,400 people from Brooklyn Heights to Park Slope voted for him anyway. For Biviano, that means something.

“I felt I did as best as we could do given the resources we had,” Biviano said.

He admitted raising money was tough; and though this has been the year of vehement anti-incumbent sentiment among voters, taking on Millman still represented a formidable challenge. He understood his long-shot odds, so losing, though painful, was not exactly unexpected.

In a post-primary interview Biviano - who lives with his family in Brooklyn Heights where he works as a superintendent and lost a City Council bid last year - sounded more disappointed with the political process than he did with himself.

“My takeaway is how does anyone campaign without the full-on backing of the establishment, and how do you get the message out?” he said.

Biviano, a self-styled reformer, certainly tried. His campaign relied on brash statements and one well-publicized media stunt to gain attention. He lobbied civic groups for debates with Millman, and was rebuffed. His efforts largely failed.

Voter indifference didn't help either. In a district with over 60,000 registered Democrats, less than 10,000 went to the polls. That so many voted at all can be attributed to the interest generated in Biviano's unorthodox candidacy. If Millman had run unopposed, probably fewer people would have voted, and that's Biviano's point.

“When there is nobody running [against them] it is very unhealthy for our elected officials,” he said. “I feel we made a difference. We started a debate where there was none. You have to look at it from that perspective.”

Biviano is unsure of his future plans; campaigning two consecutive summers has taken a toll on his family. Though he wouldn't rule out running for office again, he sounded disenchanted with politics, at least for now.

“The system is broken and the bottom line is Albany is not going to fix itself,” he said. “How do we move forward? I'm kind of at a loss.”

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