Election Day 2008

More than 300,000 Bronxites turned out Tuesday, November 5 to elect Barack Obama President of the United States. Borough voters, 88 percent of whom picked the Illinois Senator, also rewarded a crop of local incumbents. Despite recent infighting, the Democratic Party reserved its grip on the Bronx.

“I’m very gratified,” said Jeff Klein, re-elected State Senator for New York’s 34th District. “I’ve worked hard and it’s good to see that people are happy with my performance. I’ll continue to pursue consumer issues and fight HMOs. An economic crisis is already here. We need to make sure people have money in their pockets.”

Klein, currently the State Senate’s deputy minority leader, will soon become deputy majority leader; last week his Democrats won control of the State Senate for the first time in 40 years.

“It’s been a remarkable election year,” 7th District U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley said. “Our first African-American President – that alone is monumental. And what happened in our state. If there were coattails anywhere, there were coattails New York.”

In his race against Republican William Britt Jr., Crowley received 108,467 votes, or 87 percent.

Michael Benedetto and Ruben Diaz Jr. will both return to the State Assembly. Benedetto garnered 83 percent of the vote in New York’s 82nd Assembly District, while Diaz Jr. captured 95 percent in the 85th.

“Each year I’ve been elected with a higher percentage of the vote,” Benedetto said. “Hopefully that’s a tribute to what we’ve been doing.

I’m glad for State Senator Klein and his friends in the State Senate. A Democratic majority bodes well for our community.”

Bronx voters will count on their elected officials to keep the borough financially afloat.

“We’re experiencing an economic downtown,” Benedetto said. “With what’s happened on Wall Street, the state and the city are going to encounter severe problems. That said, things are moving ahead in the Bronx. Areas once considered depressed are beginning to turn.”

Diaz promised to empower working families in his district. Both Assemblymen applauded Obama’s victory.

““To have lived through the late 1950s, 60s, 70s and now this – it’s wonderful,” Benedetto said. “I’m excited about our president-elect.”

Other Bronx-based Assembly winners included Jeffrey Dinowitz in the 81st, Nelson Castro in the 86th, Carl Heastie in the 83rd, Carmen Arroyo in the 84th, Peter Rivera in the 76th, Aurelia Green in the 77th, Jose Rivera in the 78th, Michael Benjamin in the 79th and Naomi Rivera in the 80th.

Jose E. Serrano will return to Washington, D.C. for another term as U.S. Representative from the 16th Congressional District. Eliot L. Engel will represent the 17th.

Besides Klein, Jose M Serrano, Thomas Duane, Bill Perkins, Eric Schneiderman, Ruben Diaz Sr., Pedro Espana Jr. and Ruth Hassell-Thompson were elected to the State Senate.

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