Great Neck, NY, March 13, 2020 --(PR.com
)-- In order to get his name on the ballot for the upcoming Primary Election, Michael Weinstock must collect a couple thousand signatures of registered Democrats. This is a challenge for any congressional campaign - but it’s taken on a new dimension of difficulty, now that the coronavirus has arrived.
In order to accomplish his goal, Weinstock has been introducing himself to voters at train stations and shopping centers as well as knocking on doors. Last week, Weinstock got in the habit of greeting voters with elbow-bumps rather than handshakes. In recent days, however, the challenges have become far more daunting.
Weinstock arrived at the Temple Beth El Purim carnival in Great Neck, dressed as Clark Kent and eager to speak with voters and ask them to sign his petition. Unfortunately, the event was cancelled, and the doors were locked tight. When walking door to door, many voters tell Weinstock that they are enthusiastic about his campaign for Congress, but they are nervous about opening their front doors and signing his petition.
“Last week, voters were willing to sign my petition after they saw me clean my pen with a handwipe, but that’s changed,” explained Weinstock. “Many people don’t want to come anywhere near me or my clipboard, and I don’t blame them in the slightest. I’m approaching quite a few senior citizens and their reluctance to approach is completely reasonable. Quite frankly, I like the fact that they are being careful and following social distancing warnings.”
While Weinstock is a lawyer, he also has a background in medicine. He was a volunteer firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician for more than ten years. If he wins his race, he will become the first 9/11 rescue worker elected to Congress. He is challenging Tom Suozzi in the upcoming Democratic Primary for New York’s Third Congressional District, which includes sections of Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
Petitioning for the June Primary started on Feb. 25 and is scheduled to end April 2. Governor Cuomo has the authority to extend the number of days that are allowed for petitioning or dramatically reduce the number of signatures that are required.
On Thursday afternoon, Mayor DeBlasio held a press conference and directed the candidates for Queens Borough President to immediately halt door-to-door campaign activities, in order to prevent the spread of the virus. It is widely expected that the Governor will issue an Executive Order that fulfills the same objective for all congressional races.
Weinstock explained that he’s been “bending” the law in order to keep people safe while working hard to meet the requirements. “If people want to sign my petition and they also want to keep their distance, I’ll sign the form on their behalf, with a great big asterisk next to that person’s name, with an explanation. I told all the campaign’s volunteers to do the same exact thing. If team Suozzi files a lawsuit to knock me off the ballot, I’m pretty sure that the judge will decide that my compromise was perfectly reasonable under the circumstance. After all – we are in unchartered territory here and safety must come first.”
Photo: Michael Weinstock speaking with a voter at the Lake Success Shopping Center, in New Hyde Park.