CPRecap: NYC Local Primaries

State Senate District 31: Linares vs. Espaillat

In an election that turned out to be one of the ugliest in the state, State Senator Adriano Espaillat defeated Assemblyman Guillermo Linares in his bid for reelection 62 percent to 38 percent.  Both candidates are trailblazers in Dominican-American politics: Linares was the first Dominican-American elected to the New York City Council; Espaillat was the first Dominican-American elected to the state legislature.

Senator Espaillat ran for reelection after losing by just 987 votes to Congressman Charles Rangel in the June 26 Democratic Primary.  Following his narrow defeat in that election, Espaillat has been seen as the favorite to fill Rangel’s seat should he not seek a twenty-third term in 2014.  Linares’ victory in this primary would have significantly diminished Espaillat’s chance to successfully run for Rangel’s Congressional seat.

Linares received the endorsements of Congressman Rangel and Mayor Bloomberg, for whom he served as New York City Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs.  Espaillat’s bid was endorsed by Governor Cuomo.  Linares’ strong endorsements highlighted his chance to defeat Espaillat, who had promised not to run for reelection should he lose the congressional primary.

The campaign took many nasty turns due to Linares’ support for Rangel this past June.  Espaillat sent a mailer to Democrats in the district arguing that Linares had betrayed the Dominican-American community by supporting Rangel.  Espaillat also charged that Linares was a pawn for the landlord lobby in a separate attack.

Allegedly Corrupt Politicians Lose Re-election:

Queens State Senator Shirley Huntley was soundly defeated yesterday after facing charges of corruption.  Councilman James Sanders defeated Huntley 57 percent to 40 percent with every precinct reporting.  Huntley has been charged in Nassau County Court in connection with falsifying documents to cover up the fact that her niece and a staff member stole $30,000 from a phony non-profit organization.  Sanders has served on the New York City council since 2002, and was previously the Chair of the Economic Development Committee.

Mark Gjonaj upset incumbent Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera 52 percent to 41 percent with all precincts reporting.  Rivera has faced sharp criticism over her hiring practices, having used her position to employ two men she had been in relationships with.   River appointed Vincent Pinela to the position of Executive Director of the nonprofit Bronx Council for Economic Development, and her current lover, Tommy Torres, as an employee in her assembly office even though he is a full-time public school teacher.  Four different government investigative agencies have launched probes into Rivera’s hiring practices.  Rivera is the is the daughter of Assemblyman Jose Rivera and sister of New York City Council Majority Leader Joel Rivera.

Queens Assembly Primary to replace Congressional Candidate Grace Meng:

In the race to replace Assembly Grace Meng in the 40th Assembly District, Queens County-endorsed Ron Kim won the primary with 27 percent of the vote among a very crowded field of candidates.  Kim defeated four other candidates for the assembly seat: Yen Chou, who recieved 23 percent; Ethel Chen, who received 22 percent; Myungsuk Lee, who received 15 percent; and Martha Flores-Vazquez, who received 12 percent. The heavily dominant Chinese vote was split between Chen and Chou, while Kim edged out Lee for the support of the Korean community. Kim, who has worked as a Regional Director of Community and Government Affairs for Governors Spitzer and Patterson, also received the endorsement of New York City Comptroller John Liu, the most influential Chinese politician in New York.