Gjonaj, Diaz Win

Credit: Friends of Mark Gjonaj

Credit: Friends of Mark Gjonaj

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj defeated Marjorie Velazquez for the Council post being vacated by Jimmy Vacca. Meanwhile, State senator Ruben Diaz Sr., winning 42 percent of the votes cast, easily defeated four challengers in the race to succeed term-limited incumbent Annabel Palma. Both races were low turnout affairs.

Diana Ayala,backed by outgoing Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, appears to have edged out Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez, whom Governor Cuomo endorsed, in the race for District 8 which spans El Barrio and the South Bronx.

“This race is far too close to call right now, and it is premature for anyone to declare a victory. There are still ballots left to be counted, and we want to make sure each voter has their voice heard,” said Robert Rodriguez.

If her narrow victory holds up through the Board of Elections official recanvass of scanner results, plus emergency and affidavit ballots, first-time candidate Diana Ayala will be the first Bronxite to hold the CD8 seat.

Councilman Fernando Cabrera coasted to victory over ex-Obama official Randy Abreu (who was backed by Cabrera nemesis, state Sen. Gustavo Rivera) and Felix Perdomo. Co-op city Councilman Andy King also successfully defended his council seat by staving off two challengers. And Hunts Point Councilman Rafael Salamanca won his fourth election in 18 months after once again defeating Helen Hines in District 17.

Politico reports that Gjonaj’s Republican challenger John Cerini is already spoiling for a fight, as Bronx County GOP chairman Mike Rendino issued a statement accusing Gjonaj of trying to “buy his way onto the City Council, spending over $200 per vote.”

In response Gjonaj told supporters, “I am honored that the people of the 13th District have chosen me to fight for The Bronx and help lead the way in protecting the common-sense Democratic values that are vital in safeguarding our working and middle-class families, keeping our streets safe, ensuring every child receives a quality education and securing affordable housing options for the most vulnerable. From City Hall, I will be in a better position to bring attention to those issues and take action.”

In his victory statement Gjonaj mentioned the lawsuit he and local leaders filed citing the City of New York for unduly burdening The Bronx with a higher level of supportive housing facilities than any other borough. He promised that together, they will fight for a true fair share and prevent The Bronx from being the dumping ground for the City’s growing homeless population. “As the council representative, I will put the same amount of heart into every action I take, because community comes first.”

“A crowded primary points to a robust and thriving democracy and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in such a diverse and devoted field of candidates. But the work does not end here. I remain focused on the task at hand: meeting voters and understanding the issues that matter most to them. I am excited for the opportunity to represent them in the City Council and look forward to the November 7th general election,” said Mark Gjonaj.

On Wednesday, Rev. Diaz tweeted supporters: “I want to extend a great sentiment of gratitude to my loyal supporters whom 9sic) voted for me en-route to a great victory!”

Amanda Farias, who finished second to Diaz with 20.77 percent of the vote in CD 18, tweeted supporters this morning thanking them for their support.

BP Diaz, Mayor de Blasio and Public Advocate Tish James Cruise to Victory

Incumbent Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr handily won his three-person primary against a pair of woefully overmatched and underfunded challengers. Diaz win 86 percent of the ballots cast to ex-aide Camella Price’d 11 percent and the unknown Avery Selkridge, 3 percent.

Mayor Bill de Blasio won the Democratic primary by a large margin on Tuesday in a low turnout election. There were no major upsets during Tuesday’s elections, though two City Council races are still too close to call.

Letitia James easily won her public advocate primary, as did Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. Across the East Rivera, acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez won the DA seat outright with a resounding primary victory. Gonzalez is on the verge of being the state’s first Puerto Rican/Hispanic District Attorney.

Just 14 percent of registered voters appeared to have cast ballots Tuesday, slightly better than in 2009, when about 10 percent of voters weighed in, but less than 2013 when 23% cast ballots.

The general election will be held on November 7, 2017 when all citywide offices, civil and state supreme judge posts and a state constitutional convention question will be on the ballot.

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