The City Council (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)
The New York City Council is set to experience a seismic shift in composition, with dozens of Council members term-limited out after this year, and the changing of the guard in the 51-seat legislative body may wind up being most apparent in its gender balance.
In 30 districts, there were “open” races for those seats and, in most cases, crowded Democratic primaries to fill them. With Democrats enjoying a significant voter enrollment advantage over Republicans, this month’s primaries will all but decide who becomes the next Council member for almost every district across the five boroughs.
And with that many open races, there is a possibility that New Yorkers could elect the most women to ever represent the Council and even potentially a majority, which would be a massive increase from the 14 seats currently held by women.
Of the 51 seats on the Council, 46 are currently held by Democrats, three by Republicans, and two lie vacant. But there are only 14 women on the Council – including Queens’ Selvena Brooks-Powers and Brooklyn’s Darma Diaz, who were both recently elected in special elections – down from a high of 18 in 2009. Of the remaining 12, seven are term-limited and could not run for reelection in this year’s contests.
But the vast number of open seats provided an opportunity for activists and candidates seeking to increase women’s representation in the Council. The nonprofit group 21 in ‘21 was co-founded in 2017 by then-City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and then-Council Member Elizabeth Crowley for that express purpose and the organization endorsed 74 women candidates in 35 districts this year, including ranked-choice endorsements as that system was being implemented citywide for the first time in party primaries and special elections.
In 26 Districts, women have either won or are leading the race in first-choice votes as the primaries move toward counting absentee ballots and executing the ranked-choice instant runoff where warranted.
Though the results of the election won’t be known for weeks, unofficial election night returns indicated where candidates are leading. Under ranked-choice voting, more often than not, the candidate with the most first-choice votes on election night tends to be the winner.
“Since 2017, our theory has been clear: bring womxn of varying ideologies together with one goal -- elect more womxn to the New York City Council in all five boroughs,” said the board membres of 21 in ‘21, in a joint statement on Wednesday. “As we wait for the Rank Choice process to begin, there are 28 womxn leading their respective races.”
“This is an enormous victory for everyone who worked tirelessly to make this happen and there is a strong possibility that we will surpass 21 in ‘21’s original goal,” they continued. “We feel encouraged by the early numbers and we look forward to continuing our fight to ensure and maintain gender parity in the New York City Council once and for all.”
Here are the races where the Council could gain, lose, or retain a woman member:
District 1 - Likely Female to Male Shift
There were nine candidates in the Democratic primary for District 1 in Lower Manhattan, represented by the term-limited Council Member Margaret Chin, a Democrat. They included Susan Damplo, an attorney and administrative law judge with the NY State Liquor Authority; Sean Hayes, an international attorney, educator and arbitrator; Jenny Lam Low, who works as Director of Administrative Services at the City Council; Susan Lee, a legal assistant and non-profit grant writer; Gigi Li, chief of staff to Chin; Maud Maron, a Legal Aid Society Senior Staff Attorney and Community Education Council member; Chris Marte, the New York State director of Arena, a political training academy; Denny Salas, a former stockbroker, researcher and political consultant on behalf of Democratic members of Congress; and Tiffany Winbush, an adjunct professor of marketing at Berkeley College.
[Read: Crowded City Council Race in Lower Manhattan District Devastated by Covid]
Marte has what looks like an insurmountable lead, with 40% of first-choice votes on Tuesday. He was always considered by some to be the frontrunner, running for the seat a second time after losing to Chin in 2017 by just 222 votes. He had been endorsed by Village Independent Democrats, the Chinatown Working Group, the Downtown Independent Democrats, the New York City Asian-American Democratic Club, Tenants PAC, StreetsPAC and others.
In second place was Low, with 17.5%. Low had received a series of high-profile endorsements for her campaign, including from U.S. Reps. Grace Meng, Jerry Nadler, Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velazquez, State Senators Brad Hoylman and John Liu, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, and Council Members Carlina Rivera, Laurie Cumbo, Adrienne Adams, Karen Koslowitz, Francisco Moya and Alicka Ampry-Samuel.
Chin’s preferred successor was her chief of staff, Li, who came in third place with about 15.8% of the vote. She had Chin’s endorsement as well as that of mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, 21 in ‘21, the New York Pan-Asian Democratic Club, former City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Members Helen Rosenthal, Diana Ayala and Debi Rose, among others.,
District 2 - Stays Female
City Council Member Carlina Rivera easily won reelection, getting 72.6% of the vote compared to her challenger, Erin Hussein, tenant association president of Stewart House, who received 26.6%.
District 3 - Stays Male
The West Side Manhattan seat is currently held by Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who was term-limited and ran for comptroller. The candidates included Johnson’s chief of staff Erik Bottcher; president of the Hell's Kitchen Democrats Aleta LaFargue; lawyer and district leader Arthur Schwartz; small business owner Phelan Fitzpatrick, lawyer and small business owner Marni Halasa; and journalist and Community Board 4 member Leslie Boghosian Murphy.
Bottcher was the clear favorite in the race and was leading on Tuesday with 47.7% of the vote. He had far surpassed the rest of the field in fundraising, raising about $100,000 more than Schwartz, the second place fundraiser. He had Johnson’s blessing in the race, as well as endorsements from U.S. Reps. Jerry Nadler, Carolyn Maloney and Ritchie Torres, State Sens. Brad Hoylman, Brian Kavanagh and Jessica Ramos, Assemblymembers Linda Rosenthal, Dick Gottfried, Deborah Glick, Daniel O’Donnell, and several unions and progressive groups.
Schwartz was in second with 15%. He had the backing of popular progressives including Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and former gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon. Murphy was in third with about 14%.
District 5 - Likely Male to Female Shift
There were seven running to represent District 5 on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, currently held by term-limited Council Member Ben Kallos, who ran for borough president. They included former city Census director Julie Menin; architect and community board member Marco Tamayo; activist and journalist Kim Moscaritolo; labor organizer Rebecca Lamorte; social worker Tricia Shimamura; former journalist and state Senate staffer Chris Sosa; and attorney and activist Billy Freeland.
In the lead on Tuesday was Menin, with almost 34% of first-choice votes. Shimamura was next with 23.4%. Lamorte had about 12% and Moscaritolo received 11.4%.
There had been significant outside expenditure in the race, almost all of which had been in Menin’s favor, giving her an additional edge over her opponents.
Menin, who previously also served as the commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs and commissioner of Media and Entertainment, had been endorsed by U.S. Reps. Jerry Nadler, Adriano Espaillat and Nydia Velázquez, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, former Governor David Paterson, former State Comptroller Carl McCall, former Public Advocate Mark Green, Assemblymember Robert Rodriguez, former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Members Diana Ayala and Carlina Rivera. Her labor supporters include the United Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO NYC Central Labor Council, CWA District 1, SEIU 32BJ, the Hotel Trades Council, New York the Labor Strong 2021 coalition and more.
District 6 - Likely Stays Female
In District 6 on the Upper West Side, Council Member Helen Rosenthal, who has been a force behind a push for gender equity, including balance in the Council, is term-limited. Six candidates ran to replace her: Gale Brewer, the term-limited Manhattan Borough President who had previously held the Council seat; private attorney Maria Danzilo; Sara Lind, a member of Community Board 7 and an attorney; actor, activist, and labor leader Jeffrey Omura; Zack Weiner, a screenwriter, actor, and film producer; and David Gold, a non-profit executive and former litigator.
Brewer, a ubiquitous presence around the borough in her last two terms and this district before that, was the clear frontrunner, and won outright on election night with almost 54% of the vote, crossing the required 50%+1 threshold under ranked choice voting.
Brewer’s name recognition significantly overshadowed the rest of the candidates in the race, and she led in fundraising as well. She was endorsed by U.S. Reps. Jerry Nadler and Adriano Espaillat, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, State Senators José Serrano, Liz Krueger and Robert Jackson, and Assemblymembers Linda Rosenthal and Richard Gottfried, New York Democratic Party chair Keith Wright, and former Governor David Paterson.
[Read: As Brewer Attempts 'Unusual' Return to City Council, Upper West Side Primary Heats Up]
District 7 - Possibly Stays Male
There were a whopping 12 candidates in the Democratic primary for District 7 on the west side of Upper Manhattan, running to replace term-limited Council Member Mark Levine, who is running for Manhattan borough president.
The candidates included Miguel Estrella, Stacy Lynch, Corey Ortega, Keith Harris, Raymond Sanchez Jr., Maria Ordonez, Lena Melendez, Marti Allen-Cummings, Carmen Quinones, Daniel Cohen, Luis Tejada and Shaun Abreu.
Abreu leads in first-choice votes with 27.3%, while Allen-Cummings, who is non-binary, was in second with 11.8%, and Ordonez was in third with 11.5%.
Abreu had a slight fundraising lead in the race, though most of the candidates qualified for the maximum amount of public funds in the race. He had Levine’s endorsement in the race, as well as that of U.S. Reps. Adriano Espaillat and Ritchie Torres, former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Members Justin Brannan, Mark Treyger and Rafael Salamanca Jr., the United Auto Workers union, DC37, 32BJ SEIU, the Hotel Trades Council, and the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, among others.
Slightly behind Abreu in funds is Marti Allen-Cummings, a drag performer who has emerged as the progressive favorite in the race. Allen-Cummings was endorsed by several prominent progressive state legislators including State Senators Gustavo Rivera, Alessandra Biaggi, Robert Jackson and Julia Salazar, Assemblymembers Catalina Cruz, Yuh-line Niou and Emily Gallagher, and Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer and Daniel Dromm.
District 8 - Stays Female
Council Member Diana Ayala ran for reelection to District 8, which covers East Harlem and parts of the South Bronx, and won with 56.2% of the vote on election night. She had faced three primary challengers on the ballot – Tamika Mapp, Manuel Onativia and Antoinette Glover – and only Mapp, a state committeewoman, had reported raising any funds for the race.
District 9 - Possible Male to Female Shift
Council Member Bill Perkins was elected to District 9 in Central Harlem in a special election in 2017, and ran for reelection against 12 challengers. Though Perkins did not run a campaign of any note, didn’t raise much in the way of funds and is reported to be suffering from dire health issues, he could possibly be reelected on the strength of his name recognition and deep political connections.
Early results show Perkins with about 21% of first-choice votes, only slightly ahead of one of his challengers, poet and artist Kristin Richardson Jordan, who got 19.3%. Jordan was the top fundraiser in the race and was endorsed by the AOC-affiliated Courage for Change PAC, Council Member Brad Lander, the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Stonewall Democrats, Progressive Women of NY, the Black Women’s MArch, Sunrise NYC and others.
Another challenger, Athena Moore, who is director of the Northern Manhattan office for Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, came in third with 11%. She previously ran against Perkins in 2017 and picked up some prominent endorsements for her campaign this year including from U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke, Hazel Dukes, president of the New York State chapter of the NAACP, Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, former Manhattan Borough President Virginia Fields, and others.
District 10 - Likely Male to Female Shift
Eight candidates are running for District 10, which covers the northern most tip of Manhattan and is currently represented by term-limited Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.
Three candidates were relatively evenly matched at the top of the fundraising list, all women – Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa; Johanna Garcia, a former City Council staffer; and Angela Fernandez, former commissioner of the New York State Division of Human Rights.
De La Rosa has the early lead with nearly 40% of first-choice votes. Garcia came in second with 28.4% and Fernandez was third with 17.2%.
De La Rosa had the advantage of name recognition as an assemblymember and the backing of several elected officials including U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat, State Senator Jessica Ramos, Assemblymembers Daniel O’Donnell and Karines Reyes, and Council Members Mark Levine, Justin Brannan, Diana Ayala, Francisco Moya, Carlina Rivera and Keith Powers, and most major labor unions.
Garcia was the other candidate who received a significant number of endorsements, from progressive lawmakers and groups including U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman, State Senators Alessandra Biaggi, Robert Jackson, John Liu, Mike Gianaris, Brad Hoylman, former gubernatorial candidates Cynthia Nixon and Zephyr Teachout, the Working Families Party, and others.
District 13 - Male to Female Shift
Council Member Mark Gjonaj chose not to run for reelection this year, leaving an open race for his seat. Five candidates ran in the primary including Marjorie Velazquez, Monique Johnson, Irene Estrada, Marilyn Soto and John Perez.
Velazquez, who lost narrowly to Gjonaj in 2017, emerged victorious on Tuesday night, receiving 56.1% of first-choice votes. Johnson was a distant second with 26.8%.
District 14 - Likely Male to Female Shift
District 14 is currently held by Council Member Fernando Cabrera, who was term-limited and running for Bronx borough president. There were six candidates on the ballot to replace him: Adolfo Abreu, Fernando Aquino, Haile Rivera, Pierina Sanchez, Socrates Solano, and Yudelka Tapia.
Sanchez is the favorite after receiving 38.3% on election night, with Tapia in second place with 20.9%. Abreu came in third with about 19%.
Sanchez, who interned in the Obama White House and most recently has been an urban planner at the Regional Plan Association, had led the race in fundraising and endorsements. She had been endorsed by U.S. Reps. Adriano Espaillat and Ritchie Torres, State Senator Jamaal Bailey, Assemblymembers Latoya Joyner, Catalina Cruz, Kenny Burgos, former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Members Vanessa Gibson, Helen Rosenthal, Diana Ayala, Rafael Salamanca Jr., Justin Brannan, Diana Ayala, Danny Dromm, Keith Powers, Carlina Rivera and Mark Treyger, along with three dozen organizations and prominent labor unions.
Abreu had seemed to be the other strongest candidate in the race, with a slate of progressive powerhouse endorsements including from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman, State Senators Gustavo Rivera, Jabari Brisport and Julia Salazar, Assemblymembers Zohran Kwame Mamdani, Phara Souffrant Forrest, Marcela Mitaynes and Emily Gallagher, former gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon and groups like the WFP, Democratic Socialists of America, New York Communities for Change, New York Progressive Action Network, and others.
District 16 - Likely Stays Female
Four candidates rarn to represent District 16, which is currently served by Council Member Vanessa Gibson, who is term-limited and running for borough president. The candidates included Althea Stevens, Yves Filius, Ahmadou Diallo and Abdourahamane Diallo.
Stevens was the candidate with the most momentum behind her and came out of Tuesday with 50.2% of first-choice votes, just past the threshold for victory.
Stevens had the backing of U.S. Reps. Jamaal Bowman and Ritchie Torres, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Assemblymembers Chantel Jackson and Karines Reyes, Council Members Diana Ayala, Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Justin Brannan, Carlina Rivera and Adrienne Adams, the WFP, and major labor unions like UFT, 1199 SEIU, 32BJ, DC37 and others.
District 18 - Possible Male to Female Shift
Council Member Ruben Diaz Sr. is not term-limited but decided not to run for reelection, creating an open race for District 18 in the Bronx. Eight candidates sought the seat, including Amanda Farías, Michael Beltzer, and William Moore, all of whom previously ran in 2017. The remaining candidates included William Rivera, Darlene Jackson, Eliú Lara, Mohammed Mujumder and Mirza Rashid.
Farias seemed to be the candidate to beat and currently has the lead with 27.4% of first-choice votes. Rivera is a close second with 26.5% while Beltzer came in third with 12.8%.
Farias had a marginal lead in fundraising in the race but outstacked her opponents in political support. She was endorsed by the major unions and progressive organizations. The elected officials in her corner included U.S. Reps. Jamaal Bowman and Ritchie Torres, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, State Senators José Serrano, Gustavo Rivera, Alessandra Biaggi, Jessica Ramos, Julia Salazar, Assemblymembers Harvey Epstein, Karines Reyes, Chantel Jackson and Amanda Septimo, former gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout, former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Council Members Brad Lander, Helen Rosenthal, Ben Kallos, Carlina Rivera, Antonio Reynoso, Diana Ayala, Keith Powers and Justin Brannan.
District 20 - Possible Male to Female Shift
In District 20, Council Member Peter Koo is term-limited, and there were eight candidates in the primary to replace him: Hailing Chen, an Uber driver and gig worker activist; John Choe, a community organizer and public policy professor; Anthony Miranda, a retired NYPD sergeant; Sandra Ung, a lawyer and congressional aide; Neng Wang, a leader at the Chinese‐American Planning Council; Dao Yin, Secretary-General of the Shanghai Association of America; Ellen Young, a former State Senator; and Ming-Kang Low, who did not seem to run a viable campaign.
Ung, who had the support of the Queens Democratic Party, was the expected favorite and came out of Tuesday with about 24.3% of first-choice votes. The other seven candidates had sought to unite to use ranked choice voting in order to upset her chances. Four of them received similar levels of support – Young 16.7%, Choe got 16.6%, Miranda got 15.3% and Wang got about 15%.
[Read: Free-for-All in Flushing as Voters Choose Next City Council Member]
District 22 - Male to Female Shift
The District 22 seat has been vacant since Council Member Costa Constantinides left the seat to take a job in the nonprofit sector. There were six candidates running to replace him in the primary including former public defender and Queens DA candidate Tiffany Caban; former reporter Catherina Gioino; executive director of Global Kids and Community Board 1 member Evie Hantzopoulos; attorney John Ciafone; community activist Nick Velkov; and educator Leonardo Bullaro.
The apparent frontrunner in the race was Caban, who came within an inch of becoming Queens district attorney in 2019. On Tuesday, she had the lead in the race with 49.3% of first-choice votes and declared victory. Hantzopoulos came in second with 26.3% of the initial tally.
Not only had Caban led the race in funds raised, but she benefited from the name recognition built during her race for DA. She received several high-profile endorsements including from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman, State Senators Michael Gianaris, Jessica Ramos, Julia Salazar, Jabari Brisport, Assemblymembers Zohran Kwame Mamdani, Phara Souffrant Forrest, Marcela Mitaynes, Catalina Cruz and Jessica Gonzalez Rojas, Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer, Carlina Rivera and Brad Lander. Groups and unions that have endorsed her include the WFP, Courage for Change PAC, DSA, Citizen Action, 1199 SEIU, 32BJ, to name a few.
District 23 - Possible Male to Female Shift
Council Member Barry Grodenchik did not seek reelection this year, leading to another open race that saw seven candidates on the ballot. They included Steve Behar, counsel to Grodenchik; Linda Lee, president and CEO of the nonprofit Korean Community Services; Community Board 2 district manager Debra Markell; small businessman Sanjeev Jindal; organizer Jaslin Kaur; community activist Koshy Thomas; and activist and community leader Harpreet Toor.
With 31.2% of first-choice votes, Lee is at the front of the pack, followed by Kaur, who got 26.4%. Behar came in third with 13.2%.
District 26 - Possible Male to Female Shift
Fifteen candidates ran in the primary to replace term-limited Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who is running for borough president. They included Julia Forman, Jesse Laymon, Ebony Young, Emily Sharpe, Hailie Kim, Badrun Khan, Denise Keehan-Smith, Julie Won, Lorenzo Brea, Glennis Gomez, Brent O'Leary, Amit Bagga, Jonathan Bailey, Steven Raga and Sultan Al Maruf.
Won, a tech consultant, was in the lead with almost 18.5% of first-choice votes while Bagga, the former deputy director of the city’s 2020 Census operation, was close behind with almost 17.7%. Votes were scattered across the remaining candidates and it remains to be seen how the ranked-choice votes will end up being tallied.
District 27 - Likely Male to Female Shift
With Council Member I. Daneek Miller term-limited, 12 candidates ran in the primary to replace him. They included Nantasha Williams, former chief of staff to Assemblymember Diana Richardson; entrepreneur and minister Linda Guillebeaux; assistant state attorney general Jason Myles Clark; accountant Rene Hill; nonprofit executive Jermaine Sean Smith; retired police lieutenant Anthony Rivers; James Johnson, a former community liaison for Miller; attorney Kerryanne Burke; Bronx Community College professor Leroy Gadsden; Miller’s district director Al-Hassan Kanu; Harold Miller Jr., deputy commissioner for Community Engagement in the Mayor’s Office Community Affairs Unit; and Marie Adam-Ovide, district manager for Community Board 8.
Williams has a commanding lead in first-choice votes, receiving 35.6% in election night returns. Johnson, in second place, was significantly behind with 11.9%.
District 28 - Stays Female
Council Member Adrienne Adams ran for reelection against two opponents in the primary, former Council Member Ruben Wills and Sikh activist Japneet Singh.
Adams, among the members seeking to become the next Council speaker, won handily on election night with 56% of first-choice votes. Wills received 24.2% and Singh got 19.2%.
[Read: Council Member Seeking Reelection and the Speakership Faces Exonerated Ex-Rep Pursuing Redemption]
District 29 - Likely Stays Female
Nine candidates ran in the District 29 race to replace term-limited Council Member Karen Koslowitz. They included Lynn Schulman, Koslowitz’s chosen successor; local activist and nonprofit leader Aleda Gagarin; David Aronov; Avi Cyperstein; Eliseo Labayen, a longtime aide for numerous elected officials in city and federal government; Douglas Shapiro, a business finance advisor; Edwin Wong, a banker and member of Community Board 6; Donghui Zang, a conservative Wall Street analyst; and Sheryl Fetik, a veteran community organizer and member of the Queens County Democratic Committee.
Schulman, a senior liaison in Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s office, received the support of the Queens Democratic establishment and many other endorsers and leads the race with 22% of first-choice votes. Gagarin, who picked up a number of progressive endorsements, is currently a close second with about 21%.
[Read: Health Care Needs and a New Jail Loom Large in Queens City Council Race]
District 32 - Possible Male to Female Shift
Term-limited Council Member Eric Ulrich from District 32 is one of only three Republicans in the 51-seat City Council.
In the two-way Republican primary for the race, Queens County Republican Party Chair Joann Ariola handily won with 82% of the vote against truck driver and business owner Stephen Sirgiovanni, who got just 17%.
Six candidates ran in the Democratic primary for the race. They included teacher Felicia Singh; Bella Matias, founder of an education nonprofit; attorney Michael Scala; Shaeleigh Severino, executive director of Radical Youth Mobilization; Kaled Alamarie, research scientist at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection; and former math teacher Helal Sheikh.
Singh leads with 36.2% of first-choice votes and Scala is just behind with about 35%.
District 34 - Male to Female Shift
As term-limited Council Member Antonio Reynoso ran for borough president, four candidates vied for the seat in District 34 in northern Brooklyn. They included Jennifer Gutierrez, Reynoso’s chief of staff; Scott Murphy, a self-described small business owner and volunteer healthcare worker; Andy Marte, an ex-substitute teacher and affordable housing specialist with RiseBoro, a community revitalization group; and Lutchi Gayot, a contractor.
Gutierrez was the apparent frontrunner, and she received almost 78% of the first-choice vote, giving her the immediate victory. She had significantly outraised the other candidates in campaign contributions and had received several important endorsements including Reynoso’s. She is backed by Congressional Rep. Nydia Velazquez, State Senators Julia Salazar and Jessica Ramos, UFT, WFP, numerous local AFL-CIO and SEIU labor union chapters, New York Immigration Coalition Action, and others.
[Read: Close Ally Has Inside Track in Race to Replace North Brooklyn City Council Member]
District 35 - Remains Female or Shifts Female to Male
Seven candidates ran for District 35, currently represented by term-limited Council Member Laurie Cumbo, who also serves as majority leader for the Democrats in the chamber.
[Read: Competitive Central Brooklyn Council Race Splits City's Left]
With 38.5% of first-choice votes, the leading candidate is Crystal Hudson, founder of Greater Prospect Heights Mutual Aid, a former deputy public advocate to Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and a former aide to Cumbo.
She was followed closely by Michael Hollingsworth, the other strong candidate in the race, who got almost 34.5% of first-choice votes.
Hudson had raised the most funds of all the candidates in the race, and was endorsed by a slew of Democratic clubs, elected officials, unions and activist groups. They included U.S. Reps. Yvette Clarke and Hakeem Jeffries, State Senator Jessica Ramos, Assemblymember Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, Council Members Costan Constantiides, Carlina Rivera, Adrienne Adams, Justin Brannan, Brad Lander, and Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Lambda Independent Democrats, the Stonewall Democratic Club, and the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, the Brooklyn Young Democrats, the New Kings Democrats, Make the Road Action, Run for Something, and others. She has the backing of most major unions including the New York City Central Labor Council, 1199 SEIU health care workers, 32BJ SEIU building workers, DC37 and UFT.
Hollingsworth, meanwhile, was endorsed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, State Senators Julia Salazar and Jabari Brisport, State Assemblymembers Zohran Mamdani, Marcela Mitaynes and Phara Souffrant Forrest, Cynthia Nixon, Zephyr Teachout, New York Democratic Socialists of America, CUNY’s union, the Professional Staff Congress, Voters for Animal Rights, and more.
District 36 - Likely Remains Male
Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr. ran for Brooklyn Borough President as he faced term limits, and there were five candidates looking to take his seat. They included Chi Ossé, a Black Lives Matter activist and the co-founder of the activist coalition Warriors in the Garden; Robert Waterman, reverend at the Antioch Baptist Church and chair of the Interfaith Medical Center Trustee Board; Tahirah Moore, Council staffer for Cornegy; Henry Butler, district manager for Community Board 3 and president of the Vanguard Independent Democratic Association Club; and business owner Reginald Swiney, who did not seem to be running a viable campaign.
Osse is currently leading with 37.2% of first-choice votes, while Butler and Moore are practically tied at just under 23%, making the result hard to predict.
[Read: In Competitive Central Brooklyn City Council Race, Candidates Focus on Housing, Education and Public Safety]
District 37 - Remains Female
Council Member Darma Diaz was running for reelection after winning her seat in a special election last year. She faced five primary opponents: Sandy Nurse, a community organizer and carpenter; Rick Echevarria, a former official in the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development; Misba Abdin, a community activist; Heriberto Mateo, former director of the city’s Commission on Human Rights; and Christopher Durosinmi, Assistant Director of Government & Community Affairs for the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Nurse won about 51.6% of first-choice votes and Diaz only garnered about 24% of the in-person vote, meaning Nurse will take the seat.
District 38 - Likely Male to Female Shift
Six candidates ran in the Democratic primary to replace the term-limited Council Member Carlos Menchaca. They included Alexa Avilés, program director for the Scherman Foundation; Cesar Zuniga, director of research and evaluation at the ParentChild+ and chair of Community Board 7; Rodrigo Camarena, director of the Immigration Advocates Network; Yu Lin, an adult day care operator; Jacqui Painter, an environmental designer, county committee member, and the founder of Red Hook Relief, a neighborhood mutual aid group; and Victor Swinton, an NYPD lieutenant commander of the Detective Squad and an adjunct professor at CUNY’s John Jay College.
Aviles emerged out of Tuesday with nearly 43.5% of first-choice votes, well ahead of second place candidate Lin, who came in at 18.6%
Aviles had led the race in fundraising and was endorsed by prominent progressive elected officials and groups including Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nydia Velázquez, State Senators Julia Salazar and Jabari Brisport, State Assembly Members Marcela Mitaynes, Zohran Mamdani, Phara Souffrant Forrest, Emily Gallagher, and Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, City Council Members Carlina Rivera and Antonio Reynoso, New York DSA, the WFP, New York Communities For Change, the New York City Central Labor Council, and the UFT.
[Read: Future of Immigrant Communities the Focus of Brooklyn City Council Race]
District 39 - Likely Male to Female Shift
District 39 is currently represented by Council Member Brad Lander, who is term-limited and running for comptroller. Seven candidates ran in the primary including Shahana Hanif, Lander’s director of organizing and community engagement; Justin Krebs, the National Campaigns Director for grassroots group MoveOn; Briget Rein, a union organizer with the United Federation of Teachers; Douglas Schneider, a Democratic Party district leader from Park Slope; Brandon West, a former de Blasio administration and City Council staffer; Mamnunul Haq, an organizer and activist; and Jessica Simmons, an educator and former principal.
Hanif seems poised to win, receiving 32.4% of first-choice votes from the in-person tally. Brandon West was in second with 22.5% then Krebs at 16%.
[Read: In Brooklyn Political Launching Pad, Another Highly Competitive Council Race]
District 40 - Possible Male to Female Shift
Eleven candidates were on the ballot running in the primary to replace term-limited Council Member Mathieu Eugene, who is running for borough president.
They included public school teacher Rita Joseph; Kenya Handy-Hilliard, who previously worked as director of Intergovernmental Affairs in the city’s Department of Investigation; Josue Pierre, a senior financial analyst and Brooklyn borough director for the comptroller’s office; NYPD lieutenant Edwin Raymond; attorney Blake Morris; Cecilia Cortez, a public school special needs teacher; John Williams, a minister, urban public health specialist, and community activist; Maxi Eugene, a licensed insurance broker and brother of Council Member Mathieu; community activist Vivia Morgan; disability rights activist Harriet Hines; and Victor Jordan.
Joseph is leading the race with 25.2% of first-choice votes, followed by Pierre who is at 20.3%. A close third is Handy-Hilliard, with 19.2%.
[Read: Candidates with Varied Resumés Compete for Central Brooklyn City Council Seat]
District 41 - Remains Female
Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel ran for reelection against Darlene Mealy, who represented the district before her and was term-limited out of office in 2017.
In an upset, Mealy seems to have reclaimed her seat with 57.3% of the vote on Tuesday, to Ampry-Samuel’s 42.1% among in-person voters.
District 42 - Likely Female to Male Shift
Four candidates ran to replace term limited Council Member Inez Barron in District 42, but the result seemed predetermined. Among the candidates was Assemblymember Charles Barron, the Council member’s husband, who previously represented the district for three terms. In 2013, Inez Barron gave up her seat in the Assembly to join the City Council, and Charles Barron was later elected to replace her. The two seem to be repeating that this year.
Charles Barron’s deep history in the district, wide name recognition, and fundraising lead meant that he was likely to win. He had 47.4% of first-choice votes.
Other candidates in the race included Nikki Lucas, founder and president of the People First Democratic Club and the People First Education Fund; Wilfredo Florentino, an Army veteran and community advocate; and Gena Watson, though she does not seem to be running a viable campaign. Lucas came in second with 36.8% of first-choice votes from the initial tally.
District 46 - Likely Male to Female Shift
Out of the eight candidates running to replace term-limited Council Member Alan Maisel, six are women, with several at the top of the race in fundraising. The candidates included Judy Newton, a former NYPD detective; Mercedes Narcisse, a nurse and former City Council candidate; Tiffany Tucker-Pryor, a Manhattan DA staffer; R. Dimple Willabus; Donald Cranston; Shirley Paul; Zuri Jackson; and Gardy Brazela.
Narcisse emerged as the leader out of the in-person vote, with almost 36% of first-choice votes, and Paul in second with 16.5%.
Narcisse and another candidate, Gardy Brazela, the chair of Community Board 18, seemed to have the most prominent endorsements in the race. Brazela was endorsed by Council Member Maisel, U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, State Senators Roxanne Persaud and Andrew Gounardes, Assemblymembers Helene Weinstein and Jaime Williams, among others.
Narcisse has been endorsed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, former U.S. Rep. Ed Towns, Assembly Member N. Nick Perry, 1199SEIU, the New York State Nurses Association, 32BJ, and Make the Road Action.
District 48 - Possible Male to Female Shift
The District 48 seat has been vacant since Council Member Chaim Deutsch, who was already term-limited, was expelled from the Council after pleading guilty to federal tax fraud charges. Five candidates ran to replace him: special education teacher Steven Saperstein; attorney Binyomin Bendet; Mariya Markh, a former City Council aide; Amber Adler, an Orthodox Jewish activist; and Harold “Heschy” Tischler, a right-wing radio host.
Saperstein has the lead with 31.2% of first-choice votes, but Markh is close behind with 28.5%. Adler was in third with almost 18% while Bendet got 17%.
District 49 - Remains Female
With Council Member Debi Rose term-limited, nine candidates are running in the primary to represent District 49 on Staten Island’s North Shore.
Kamillah Hanks, founder of the Historic Tappen Park Community Partnership, who unsuccessfully ran against Rose in 2017, has the lead with 25% of first-choice votes. Amoy Barnes, who works at the city Department of Education, was in second with 21.1%.
by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette