Rafael Salamanca will soon represent the Bronx in the City Council as the next representative of District 17.
The seat has been vacant since former Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo vacated the spot for a high paying private sector job at the end of 2015.
Salamanca, who quickly gained favor with political leaders in the borough, won the special election this past Tuesday, February 23, with 39 percent of the vote.
The candidate currently serves as district manager of Community Board 2, and had cultivated a vast number of endorsements, including the support of Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., the Bronx Democratic County Committee, Congressman Jose Serrano, local elected officials and many labor unions.
His victory was no surprise.
George Alvarez came in second, garnishing 24 percent of the vote, and Julio Pabon came third with 15 percent, according to data from the NYC Board of Elections.
The remaining candidates were: J. Loren Russell with 11 percent, Joann Otero with 7 percent, and Marlon Molina with 3 percent.
The race began with 11 contenders, which over time dwindled down to five.
On election day, prior to his win, Salamanca looked calm and confident, but predicted a “close race”.
“The weather isn’t helping,” said Salamanca, who stood outside P.S. 66 on Jennings Street, speaking to voters before they went to the polls, “It’s a special election, every vote counts.”
Signs to vote for Julio Pabon and his ‘The Bronx is Not for Sale’ party lined streets around the area, as all candidates did their best to garner last minute support.
The number of voters who made it out on the blisteringly cold and windy election day totalled around 3,300 – about 5% of the district’s registered voters.
The new council member will be seated once the results are certified by the Board of Elections, however Salamanca will need to run for re-election in 2017.
“I want to thank all of the voters tonight for placing their trust in me,” he said, after his victory at his campaign headquarters. “I am incredibly honored to have the opportunity to represent this community at City Hall.”
The 17th District represents much of the south Bronx including Hunts Point, Longwood, Melrose, and Soundview.