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Restler Loses District Leader Spot in Heartbreaker

Contest in Brooklyn's 50th Assembly District ends after vote counting errors, accusations of fraud and six recounts.

Lincoln Restler lost his bid for District Leader in the redrawn 50th Assembly District by a margin of 19 votes, according to a result certified this week by the city Board of Elections.

Restler lost to rival Chris Olechowski, 6,018 to 6,037 votes, ending a hard-fought campaign that pitted one of the borough's chief reformists against a candidate backed by disgraced former Brooklyn Democratic leader Vito Lopez.

"It has been a crazy roller coaster ride over the past month," Restler wrote in an email to supporters. "At different moments we were certain we had lost and at others equally confident that we had pulled it out."

The tight race had gone through its sixth recount after initial results had Restler up by 53 votes.

However, that margin of victory was reversed in Olechowski's favor due to irregularities in a machine count of votes, according to Restler's campaign.

Restler also announced that he would not seek to challenge the results in court.

"My attorney has advised me that due to evidence of fraud and severe voting irregularities in Williamsburg, we have a strong possibility of having the court order a do over of the election — but, not until February at the earliest," he wrote. "In the interest of putting the community first, I have decided against this course of action, but we are working with the appropriate authorities to prevent voter fraud from being perpetrated in future elections."

As a candidate endorsed by Brooklyn's powerful Democratic Party machine, Olechowski drew heavily from support in Williamsburg's Hasidic community. Accusations of fraud are centered at polling locations where a large number of Hasids of the Satmar sect voted.

In recent weeks, Olechowski fired back, demanding that Restler refute rumors that Olechowski's Polish father was a Nazi sympathizer.

"My father was a Polish officer arrested by the Soviets in 1939 and was later released to fight against the Nazis alongside the Allied Forces. I am very proud of my dad's service," Olechowski wrote on his website.

Blankocat October 18, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Restler got robbed.
Joe Gonzalez October 19, 2012 at 12:53 PM
To my mind Lincoln Restler is the winner--that is because his spent the most time talking about the issues that matter most to the Community.

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