The Democratic Party primary elections offered few surprises this year, with incumbents staving off challengers, in most cases with relative ease.
In the only open seat race, Jamaal Bailey, the current male district leader of the 83rd Assembly District, easily won the 36th Senate District primary election on Tuesday, September 13 against four other candidates.
Former Senator Ruth-Hassell Thompson resigned the seat in July 2016 to join the Cuomo administration.
Bailey, who had the endorsement of the Bronx Democratic County Committee, garnered about 55% of the vote with 248 of 258 precincts reporting in preliminary, unofficial results.
Bailey’s opponents were the Rev. Edward Mulraine, who took home 15.83%; Pamela Hamilton-Johnson, an education activist, who garnered 13.89%; Reverend Que English, who received 7.51% and Dr. Alvin Ponder, a health advocate from Co-op City, who got only 5.89%.
As the primary winner, Bailey is the presumptive senator because while he does face a challenger in the general election, the district is heavily Democratic.
“I am humbled to have the support of my wife and the countless people who believed in me enough to vote for me or to tell their friends,” said Bailey shortly after the primary win, adding “When you get to represent the community that you grew up in, I think there is no greater honor.”
Bailey said that the outpouring of support humbled him, and that he attributed his victory to a lot of late nights and 14- and 15-hour-a-day campaigning.
Even though the district is heavily Democratic, Bailey said he is took nothing for granted, and will be continue to listen to the concerns of the voters of the 36th Senate District, which includes Co-op City, Eastchester, Baychester, Williamsbridge, Wakefield and part of Mount Vernon.
In the west Bronx, Senator Gustavo Rivera staved off a challenge by Councilman Fernando Cabrera for the 33rd Senate seat. This was a rematch of 2014.
Rivera, according to NYS Board of Elections data, won with 60.09% of the vote over Cabrera, who polled 35.17% of the vote with 184 out of 185 precinct’s reporting.
Rivera had alleged that Cabrera violated campaign finance rules in one of his filings.
Rivera has also maintained that Cabrera took outside money from wealthy donors who usually give to Republicans.
Assemblyman Victor Pichardo also held off perrenial challenger Hector Ramirez, who ran a very close race against him in 2014, this time prevailing by a very wide margin with 62.98% to Ramirez’s 30.95%.
In the 78th Assembly District, incumbent Jose Rivera defeated challenger Ischia Bravo Fe59.78% to 32.25%
In the 87th Assembly District, incumbent Luis Sepulveda easily defeated challenger Pamela Stewart-Martinez, with more that 70% of the vote, a fact he attributed to being very active in his district, and not just at election time.
Councilman Rafael Salamanca, who won his seat based in Hunts Point and Longwood in a special election in February, defeated retired union activist Helen Hines, according to published reports.
“I’m blessed to have the confidence of my community in the south Bronx to continue serving as their New York City Councilmember,” said Salamanca. “Everyday my team and I aim to bring results on the issues affecting our neighbors.”
Female distric leader of the 80th Assembly District, Andrea Siegel, successfully fended off her challenger.