BY Celeste Katz
Most of them are little-known even in their communities, except by the very politically active. They are the party faithful – the district leaders, county committee members and delegates to judicial nominating conventions.
And all of these party-office incumbents, along with a few civil court candidates, and their rare would-be challengers, have to scrounge up a specified number of voter signatures to technically qualify as candidates for the Sept. 13 primary election.
That signature-gathering period began Tuesday and ends with the filing of nominating petitions on July 11-14.
Which explains why Mark Levine, a Washington Heights Democratic district leader, was outside the A train subway station at Bennett Park and Fort Washington Ave. early Tuesday, buttonholing surprised voters. He was helped by volunteers and Councilman Robert Jackson (D-West Harlem-Washington Heights), a member of Levine’s Barack Obama Democratic Club.
“People are focused on the big national and citywide offices,” said Levine, who is running for reelection as male district leader in the 71st Assembly District, Part A. “A lot of them don’t realize that district leaders and Civil Court judges and county committee members are up for reelection this year. So this [signature-gathering process] is a great opportunity to educate people and let them know why local party offices are so important, because they do matter.”
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