Newcomers shaking up primary day in NY with innovative tactics

NEW YORK — It’s crunch time for a slew of candidates in Tuesday’s New York Primary.

In a number of high profile races, incumbents are seeing fierce challenges from rising stars in their own party.

The biggest battle may be finding inventive ways to stand out, especially in a region where voter turn-out is under 10 percent.

Using a tactic some say was both innovative and reckless, Suraj Patel – a congressional candidate running against 13-term incumbent Carolyn Maloney – created fake accounts on dating apps like Tinder, Grindr and Bumble.

He and staffers baited would-be voters with photos of attractive people. After a “match” was made, they would reveal who they were and encourage the user to go out and vote.

Patel defended the tactic, which he said was used only once for publicity purposes.

“The idea was just going to places where people already communicate and because young people are so ignored by these campaigns,” Patel said. “There is no apologizing for boosting civil engagement.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is another newcomer shaking up the congressional primary.

The 28-year-old candidate, who is taking on long-time Representative Joseph Crowley in New York’s 14th District, is relying heavily on social media to push her agenda, unlike her opponent who has invested in the standard mailer.

Her primary target appears to be millennials.

“This is just the beginning of what we’re going to see,” marketing and branding expert Ian Wishingrad told PIX11.

According to him, 2020 will unleash an onslaught of tactics never seen before.

“Our current president did some pretty incredible things that we thought would’ve disqualified him instead it gave him more airtime,” he said. “Anyone who could get the media to report on them its proven to be a winning strategy.”

Polling stations open at 6 a.m. across New York state. They close at 9 p.m.