The ballots are cast and the results are in.
To the shock of few, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been elected to represent the 14th Congressional District, making her the youngest woman to hold a seat in Congress, with soon-to-be Senator Alessandra Biaggi following similar footsteps in the 34th Senatorial District on Tuesday, November 6.
The raucous crowd of the Bronx Democratic party faithful fell silent at the Bronx Ale House as Ocasio-Cortez’s race was called, defeating her flawed Republican rival Anthony Pappas. The GOP challenger’s violent past was exposed recently, costing him the elimination of his own party’s support.
After her overwhelming upset of 20-year incumbent Congressman Joseph Crowley on Tuesday, June 26, the Democratic Socialist received mixed reactions from Bronx Democrats in the months leading up to the general election.
Being that she had narrowly won the Bronx’ one-third portion of the district that’s shared with Queens, her rise to Congress is truly a tale of two boroughs.
Nevertheless, her soon-to-be colleague in government, re-elected Bronx/Westchester Congressman Eliot Engel says it’s time to move on from Congressman Crowley.
“She won her race fair and square,” Engel said.
The congressman, a hopeful candidate to become the next chair of the House’s Foreign Affairs Committee, went on to say that he’s excited to work with Ocasio-Cortez.
“I have no concerns about her [ability to do a good job]” Engel mentioned.
At the state level, Senator Luis Sepulveda, whom won the 32nd senate district comfortably over Patrick Delinces discussed the need to bring both progressives and establishment Democrats together.
“There has to be an effort on both sides, we should work beyond labels here, sitting down and having a fair and open discussion because at the end of the day you will see that the two movements do have a lot in common,” the senator said.
Sepulveda, whom previously held the 87th Assembly District seat happily witnessed the candidate that he had endorsed take over his reins.
Another political newcomer, a registered nurse at Montefiore Health System, Karines Reyes enters the Assembly during this governing shake-up.
She also expressed a willingness to work collaboratively with her new colleagues.
“I want to see us all work together to bring meaningful change to the Bronx and New York,” Reyes said.
While elected officals were thrilled by voter turnout, many voters were not as happy by the techinical malfunctions that resuluted in long lines and other issues at polling sites around both the Bronx and the city.
Rajive Anand, a decades-long Pelham Bay resident had a struggle trying to vote.
“My Bronx residence has not changed in a decade but my polling place could not find my registration this year!” he said in frustration.
Other areas like Kingsbridge also had trouble with its polling sites. Polling sites at Co-op City’s Truman High School were down for over four hours.
Despite all the voting machine problems, all the other Bronx’s incumbent Assembly and Senate members were re-elected: 77th AD, Latoya Joyner; 78th AD Jose Rivera- D; 79th AD, Michael Blake - D; 80th AD, Nathalia Fernandez -D; 81st AD, Jeffery Dinowitz - D; 82nd AD, Michael Benedetto - D; 83rd AD, Carl Heastie -D; 84th AD, Carmen Arroyo -D; 85th AD, Marcos Crespo -D; and 86th AD, Victor Pichardo - D, 29th SD, Jose M. Serrano - D; and 32nd SD, Gustavo Rivera -D .
The three ballot proposals regarding regulation of campaign finance, establishing as Civic Engagement Commission and term limits on community boards, were also approved by voters.