Big Upset In Brooklyn DA’s Race
Primaries: Lopez, Vallone Lose; Reynoso, Katz Win
Voters embraced a new generation of politicians and turned aside veterans of the city’s political landscape during primary elections on Tuesday, Sept. 10, as Brooklyn’s longtime chief prosecutor was ousted and three scandal-scarred former lawmakers lost their bids to get back into office.
Locally, Antonio Reynoso handily defeated former Assemblyman Vito Lopez and two other challengers in the Democratic primary for the 34th City Council District seat held by the term-limited Diana Reyna. Reynoso—who presently serves as Reyna’s chief-of-staff—garnered 49.2 percent of the vote (5,753), while Lopez took 37.2 percent (4,345). Gladys Santiago (8.2 percent, 961 votes) and Humberto Soto (5.4 percent, 633) rounded out the field.
Lopez resigned earlier this year after being accused in a state ethics investigation of sexually harassing female staffers. At the time, though, he claimed to be stepping down in order to prepare for his City Council bid.
The 34th District includes parts of Ridgewood, Bushwick, East Williamsburg andWilliamsburg.
Democratic District Leader Maritza Davila, meanwhile, won the Democratic nomination to fill the 53rd Assembly District seat—which covers much of Bushwick, East Williamsburg and Williamsburg— formerly held by Lopez.
Davila, a long-time Lopez ally, secured 52 percent of the vote (3,943) over Jason Otano, a former aide to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz (32 percent, 2,398); and Charvey Gonzalez, legislative director for State Sen. Martin Malave Dilan (16 percent, 1,253).
Brooklyn was also the site of the biggest upset in the primaries, as incumbent Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes—who has been Brooklyn’s chief prosecutor since 1989—lost the Democratic nomination to former federal prosecutor Ken Thompson. In a particularly contentious contest, Thompson won with 55.4 percent of the vote (92,390) over Hynes, who received 44.6 percent (74,310).
Hynes previously secured the Republican nomination for district attorney, but in conceding the race to Thompson Tuesday night, the incumbent stated he would not continue his campaign. It was the first time since 1955 that an incumbent district attorney in New York City lost a bid for re-election.
As a result, Thompson is a virtual lock to become Brooklyn’s next district attorney in the November general election.
Queens Democrats tapped former City Council Member Melinda Katz as their choice to become the next borough president. The Forest Hills resident secured 44.5 percent of the vote (48,876) over City Council Member Peter Vallone Jr. of Astoria, who finished second with 33.7 percent (37,046). Rosedale businessman Everly Brown came in third with 12.6 percent (13,813), while State Sen. Tony Avella of Bayside—who dropped out of the race last month but remained on the ballot—finished fourth with 9.3 percent (10,221)
Katz will face Republican businessman Tony Arcabascio in the November general election to succeed the term-limited Helen Marshall as Queens borough president.
The results of other local primary races in the Times Newsweekly coverage area are as follows:
• Democratic District Leader Lew Simon of Rockaway Park easily won the Democratic nomination for the 32nd City Council District seat, which covers parts of Woodhaven, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, Lindenwood, Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaways. Nearly two-thirds of voters pulled the lever for Simon (3,845) over Ozone Park property manager William Ruiz (2,064).
Simon moves on to the November general election to challenge the incumbent, Republican City Council Member Eric Ulrich.
• Assemblyman Rafael Espinal cruised to victory in the Democratic race for the 37th City Council District, which covers parts of Bushwick, Cypress and East Williamsburg. With all the precincts reporting, Espinal secured 46 percent of the vote (3,377) over rivals Kimberly Council (31.5 percent, 2,308 votes), Heriberto Mateo (12.2 percent,
896 votes) and Helal Sheikh (756, 10.3 percent).
• Finally, City Council Member Ruben Wills fended off three challengers to once again win the Democratic nomination for his 28th District seat, which covers parts of Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park. The incumbent received 48.6 percent of the vote (4,857) over attorney Hettie Powell (33 percent, 3,299), business owner Eugen Evans (10.5 percent, 1,049) and Community Board 12 member David Kayode (7.8 percent, 780).
Race for mayoral noms
Turning to the citywide races, though many thought a Democratic runoff for mayor was a certainty, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio appeared to secure the nomination outright— but former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, the runner-up, has yet to concede as of press time Wednesday afternoon.
With 98 percent of the precincts reporting, de Blasio—who surged in the polls in recent weeks—secured 40.19 percent of the vote (257,034 votes), just above the 40 percent threshold required to avoid a runoff. But Thompson, who finished second with 26 percent of the vote (166,516), declined to concede late Tuesday night, stating he would wait “for every vote to be counted.”
Reportedly, there are thousands of absentee and affidavit ballots that must be reviewed in order for the result to be certified. The city Board of Elections announced it would recanvass all lever machines on Friday, Sept. 13, and begin counting absentee and affidavit ballots on Monday, Sept. 16.
Should the city Board of Elections certify in its final count that de Blasio did not hit the 40 percent threshold, de Blasio and Thompson will move on to an Oct. 1 runoff election .
As for the other Democratic candidates for mayor, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn—the onetime frontrunner—finished third with 15.5 percent (99,226), followed by City Comptroller John Liu with seven percent (44,837). Former Rep. Anthony Weiner, who campaigned in spite of the sexting scandal that dogged him to the end, managed just 4.9 percent of the vote (31,389) to finish fifth.
Rounding out the Democratic field were minister Erick Salgado, comedian Randy Credico, former City Council Member Sal Albanese and attorney Neil Grimaldi, each of whom secured less than three percent of the vote.
Whether it’s de Blasio or Thompson, the Democratic nominee will face former MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota in the November general election. Lhota easily secured the Republican nomination Tuesday night, garnering 52.6 percent of the vote (29,908) and besting billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis (40.6 percent, 23,064) and nonprofit chairman George McDonald (6.8 percent, 3,845).
Stringer beats Spitzer
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer took a step toward becoming the city’s next comptroller by securing the Democratic nomination. Stringer took 52.2 percent of the vote (285,212) over former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, whose attempt at a political comeback following his 2008 resignation amid a prostitution scandal fell short. He received 47.8 percent (261,386) of the vote.
Stringer will face Republican candidate John Burnett in the November general election.
Runoff for public advocate
Democratic voters will need to head to the polls again on Oct. 1 to decide between which two Brooklyn elected officials will be their party’s nominee for public advocate. As the polls closed Tuesday night, City Council Member Letitia James (36 percent, 173,429) and State Sen. Daniel Squadron (33.3 percent, 160,296) were the two top vote-getters in advancing to the runoff.
Rounding out the field were Deputy Public Advocate Reshma Saujani of Manhattan (15.1 percent, 72,537), professor Cathy Guerriero of Manhattan (12.9 percent, 62,209) and professor Sidique Wai of Brooklyn (2.8 percent, 13,658).
With the Republican Party not fielding a candidate for public advocate in November general election, the winner of the Oct. 1 runoff will more than likely become the city’s next ombudsman, barring an upset by a third-party candidate in the November election.
As with the primary, only registered Democratic voters will be able to participate in the public advocate runoff election on Oct. 1.
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All registered voters, however, are eligible to cast their ballots in the general election on Nov. 5. For information on voting, call 1-212-VOTENYC or visit www.vote.nyc.ny.us.