Tuesday marked primary night for Mayor Bill de Blasio and Public Advocate Letitia James and, to no one’s surprise, they won their respective races. City Council primaries across the city also saw incumbents shooing away challengers.
De Blasio won the Democratic Primary for mayor with almost 75 percent of the vote. His main challenger and most vocal critic, Sal Albanese, walked away with 15 percent of the vote. Michael Tolkin, Robert Gangi and Richard Bashner split the remaining votes.
At a primary night party at Roulette, a concert hall in downtown Brooklyn, the mayor thanked the crowd for their support and chronicled how much work lies ahead.
“We’ve got more to do. I’ve seen up close the challenges too, I’ve seen the ways we still need to build a fairer city, and I’m not going to stop until we build that fairer city for every New Yorker,” said de Blasio during a speech last night. The mayor touted some of his accomplishments, including universal pre-K. He will run against New York State Assemblywoman, and Republican, Nicole Malliotakis in the general election.
De Blasio still has the support of labor unions who have pushed for a more progressive agenda from all candidates in the city no matter what they’re running for. 32BJ President Hector Figueroa took pride in noticing how the candidates they pushed for won their primaries.
“Today voters showed that they want New York City to remain a progressive city with policies and laws that protect working families,” said Figueroa in a statement. “32BJ members endorsed the candidates with a history of standing up for working people, immigrant rights, good public education, affordable housing, criminal justice, police reform. Now we’ll make sure that they are elected in November.”
New York City Public Advocate Letitia James beat challenger David Eisenbach with almost 77 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary. In a statement, James said, “For the past four years, we have worked to transform the Public Advocate’s Office into a vehicle for economic and social justice and progress for everyday New Yorkers. Tonight’s victory puts us one step closer to a second term of fighting for all New Yorkers.”
In the race for Brooklyn district attorney, Eric Gonzalez will no longer be referred to as sitting. The man who stepped up to the DA position after the death of Ken Thompson won with 53 percent of the vote in a race that featured five other candidates. Anne Swern got almost 12 percent of the vote and Marc Fliedner captured just over 10 percent. Patricia Gatling, Vincent Gentile and Ama Dwimoh all finished in single digits.
Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union President Stuart Appelbaum praised Gonzalez’s victory.
“I am proud of the work our members did to put the strength of the RWDSU behind so many candidates that will fight to ensure that workers are heard in local government,” said Appelbaum, in a statement. “Eric Gonzalez knows the plight of low-wage workers and has diligently fought to recover stolen wages across Brooklyn in the District Attorney’s Office—we know his win tonight is a win for working people. Carlina Rivera, Keith Powers, Francisco Moya and Justin Brennan know what hard working families need in New York City to live and work here—and we know they will work closely to ensure that laws that impact working New Yorkers will protect our city’s working women and men.”
In other important primary races, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. won his primary with 86 percent of the vote over challengers Camella Price and Avery Selkridge. Bill Perkins emerged from a pool of six to maintain his spot in the Democratic primary for New York City Council District 9, Ydanis Rodriguez beat out Josue Perez and Francesca Castellanos in his primary and Andy King, Ruben Diaz Sr., Laurie Cumbo, Mathieu Eugene, Inez Barron, Jumaane Williams and Debi Rose won their primary races.
Two City Council primaries that became controversial for different reasons took place Tuesday. Although Rivera, the former legislative director for outgoing Council Member Rosie Mendez, easily won her primary with 61 percent of the vote, the candidate became embroiled in some controversy. In the days leading up to the primary, the New York Post reported that despite the fact that Rivera lived in a Section 8 apartment, she had pictures of her husband Jamie Rogers (chair of Community Board 3) boat racing on a yacht that belonged to his father. Rivera said that she would leave the apartment if she became a Council Member. Rivera’s district, District 2, covers the Lower East Side, the East Village, Rose Hill, Kips Bay, Murray Hill and Gramercy Park.
“This is where I have spent almost 34 years of my life living and loving and breathing and doing and serving and really just wanting to make every single person feel like they’re being heard,” Rivera said during her victory speech.
In another testy Democratic primary, for City Council District 7, Mark Levine handily defeated Thomas Lopez-Pierre with almost 75 percent of the vote. Lopez-Pierre drew the ire of several political officials when he ran his campaign discussing “Jewish landlords” and how they’ve ruined housing in the city. After the primary, Levine fired back at Pierre for his rhetoric.
“At a time when decent people of all backgrounds need to denounce the hatred coming from the Alt-right in Charlottesville and beyond, I am elated that my neighbors in the 7th Council District chose our positive vision of unity over a message of division and intolerance,” said Levine, whose council district covers Morningside Heights, Manhattanville, Manhattan Valley and Hamilton Heights. “Despite spending nearly $100,000 in campaign finance matching funds, my opponent’s vitriolic propaganda was unequivocally rejected by the Upper Manhattan community last night. I look forward to serving this amazing community for another four years, and I am eager to continue working to make our city a more fair and prosperous place for every New Yorker.”