Brian Benjamin is Harlem’s newest politician, winning by a landslide in the special election Tuesday to replace the seat vacated by District 30 State Sen. Bill Perkins, who was elected to the City Council.
Benjamin, a Democrat, took a reported 91.6 percent of the vote. His opponents were Republican Dawn Simmons, who got 2.7 percent of the vote, and Reform Party candidate Ruben D. Vargas, who got 2 percent. Fewer than 9,000 people went to the polls.
“I am honored and humbled that the voters have chosen me to be the next New York State Senator for the 30th District,” Benjamin said in a statement. “Our community has a long history of trailblazing public officials, from the Upper West Side to Harlem and El Barrio. I’m proud to join the ranks of so many tireless men and women and follow their lead in fighting for our families.”
A favorite, Benjamin received major endorsements from several labor unions, along with endorsements from sitting and past Democratic politicians, including former longtime Congressman Charlie Rangel, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Tuesday, Benjamin spent the day at several location in the district, including P.S. 175 with Rangel and NAACP New York State Conference President Hazel Dukes, Esplanade Gardens, the Frederick Samuel Community Cent and the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Senior Center.
He also campaigned at two Central Harlem subway stops and ended the day with a viewing party Londel’s Restaurant. He stated that he plans to go to Albany to fight for families and ensure the culture and character of Harlem is preserved.
“Together with my colleagues in the Democratic Conference, I will work to achieve meaningful bail reform, protect a woman’s right to choose and secure the Campaign for Fiscal Equity funding our public schools deserve,” he said.
The morning after his victory, Benjamin participated in a rally with Community Board 10, on which he served as former chairperson, to fight against efforts of the use of the name “SoHa” to describe Harlem below 125th Street by real estate brokers and developers.