Some new faces mark primary week in New York

Stephon Johnson | 9/14/2016, 11 p.m.
While one might be skeptical of a new day in Albany, there will be new faces.
New York State Capitol Wikipedia

While one might be skeptical of a new day in Albany, there will be new faces.

Yuh-Line Niou roundly defeated five other candidates in the primary for a seat representing the New York State Assembly’s 65th District. One of the candidates included Alice Cancel, a former Democratic District leader and ally of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison on corruption charges.

Niou’s victory reflected the changing demographics in the area. Approximately half of the residents who call the 65th Assembly District home are Asian.

“Yuh-Line has a history of standing up for workers, including airport workers fighting for a union and security officers fighting for a fair contract, and we know she’ll continue to fight for working New Yorkers in Albany,” said 32BJ President Hector Figueroa in a statement. “Her victory and others for our endorsed candidates tonight are a win for working people in our state as we get one step closer to getting these candidates elected and passing the legislation we need.”

Albany will see another new face in Jamaal Bailey, who cruised to a Democratic primary victory against four other candidates, with 56 percent of the vote in the State Senate’s 36th District. Bailey takes over the seat held by Ruth Hassel-Thompson, who resigned her post to work in New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration. Bailey served as the community relations director for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who also endorsed him.

Elsewhere, Adriano Espaillat further cemented his influence on politics uptown with two of his endorsed candidates, Marisol Alcantara and Carmen De La Rosa, riding the wave to primary victories for State Senate and State Assembly respectively.

“As a union organizer, a tenant advocate and a community board member, I’ve been an activist my entire life, and I am ready to take my experience and values to Albany,” said Alcantara in an emailed statement. “I will work tirelessly to ensure that every New Yorker has the opportunity to succeed. I’ll stand up for tenants, seniors, New Americans, working families and the progressive policies that will empower our community.”

However, mainstream Democrats aren’t celebrating Alcantara’s victory because she plans to join the Independent Democratic Conference, which is aligned with Senate Republicans. Robert Jackson, who Alcantara defeated Tuesday, criticized her for taking a $100,000 donation from Thomas McInerney, a conservative Republican who has also donated to Karl Rove’s Super PAC.