What were Bronxites voting for on Tuesday?

At the top of the ballot for Bronxites on Election Day was the race for who will succeed longtime Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr., a three-term Democrat who has served in the post since 1997.
Photo Adrian Childress

Both first-time and loyal registered party voters flocked to the polls in the Bronx on Tuesday, hoping to influence key races to decide New York City’s next mayor as well as the Bronx’s next borough president.

Vying for the post of the 110th Mayor of New York City was Democrat Eric Adams and Republican Curtis Sliwa  — with Adams favored to win due to the city Democrats’ six-to-one voter registration advantage. However, some voters like Brandon Jones, 40, felt like he was “choosing the lesser of two evils” when he cast his vote Tuesday.

“It’s either a moderate who doesn’t want to go far enough fix this city or a Republican with a red hat,” Jones said outside a voting station on 1514 Olmstead Ave., in the Parkchester section. “I’m also not a fan of no ranked-choice voting in this cycle … It feels limited and feels like I’m not making my vote matter.”

Polls opened at a voting site at the Bronx Courthouse on 161st and Grand Concourse, with turnout seemingly sparse on Tuesday morning. (Photos Adrian Childress

At the top of the ballot for Bronxites on Tuesday was the race for who will succeed longtime Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr., a three-term Democrat who has served in the post since 1997. Three candidates will vie for the seat including Democrats Vanessa L. Gibson, a current NYC Councilwoman, Republican Janelle King and Sammy Ravelo, a Conservative.

Shannon Rodriguez, a 21-year-old Castle Hill native, said that he punched his ticket for Gibson, and told the Bronx Times that he would love to see Gibson — who would become the first female and first Black candidate elected to borough president in the Bronx — make history.

“I think the Bronx has proven time and time again that we want leadership that looks like us and represents us, and I think that will be reflected in the polls tonight,” they said. “The momentum for younger, diverse leadership has been shown through (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) and I think we’re going to get it right again.”

While Republicans have been traditionally outnumbered in New York City, there were some Republican voters in the Bronx. Cody Green, a Fordham University senior from Albany, said he thinks a Conservative can steal a few seats in this election cycle.

“I don’t think New York City is as liberal as it is on paper,” Green said. “There are people who are afraid to walk at night because of the amount of crime and the lack of progress Democrats have made on important issue. Will there be a Republican mayor, probably not. But I do think we see an ‘upset’ or two on the City Council.”

With that in mind, on Tuesday’s ballot, seven of the nine Bronx seats on the New York City Council are contested races.

In the 11th Council District, which encompasses the sections of Bedford Park, Kingsbridge, Riverdale, Norwood, Van Cortlandt Village, Wakefield, Woodlawn, incumbent second-generation Democrat Eric Dinowitz will be opposed by Republican challenger Kevin Pazmino.

With one-term Democratic Councilman Mark Gjonaj not seeking reelection, the Council District 13 seat — which represents the Allerton, City Island, Morris Park, Pelham Bay, Throggs Neck, Van Nest, Westchester Square sections, to name a few — will be decided between Democrat frontrunner Marjorie Velazquez and Republican Aleksander Mici.

In the 14th Council District, the race for the seat had one of the busiest primaries over the summer, as six candidates made a bid for term-limited incumbent Fernando Cabrera’s seat. The district that houses the Morris Heights, University Heights, Fordham and Kingsbridge sections will be decided between Republican Shameen Chappell and Democrat Pierina Ana Sanchez.

After winning a special election in March, District 15 Councilman Oswald Feliz seeks election to his first full term against Republican-Conservative opponent Ariel Rivera-Diaz. The District 15 seat includes the Bedford Park, Fordham, Mount Hope, Bathgate, Belmont, East Tremont, West Farms, Van Nest, Allerton and Olinville sections.

The District 16 seat will also see a new face, with incumbent Vanessa L. Gibson forgoing reelection to enter a bid to be the next Bronx borough president. Republican Kajara R. Boyd and Democrat Althea V. Stevens will look to replace her and occupy a council seat that represents the Claremont, Concourse, Concourse Village, Highbridge, Morris Heights, Mount Eden and Morrisania sections.

Democrat Rafael Salamanca Jr., will make a bid for reelection in the 17th Council District — an area that includes Concourse Village, Crotona Park East, East Tremont, Hunts Point, Longwood, Melrose, Morrisania, Port Morris and West Farms. Salamanca is opposed by Republican Jose A. Colon and Lattina D. Brown, a member of the Progressive Black Women Lead Party.

Voters head to the polls in the Bronx, hoping to influence key races for the city’s next mayor and the borough’s next president.

The District 18 seat is currently held by moderate Democrat Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr., who is not seeking reelection. Vying for his seat is challengers Amanda Farias, a Democrat, and Republican Lamont L. Paul; the district encompasses the Soundview, Castle Hill, Parkchester, Clason Point and Harding Park sections.

There will also be a special election to fill a vacancy in the state’s 86th Assembly District, which includes the University and Morris Heights, Mount Eden, Kingsbridge, Tremont and Fordham sections. The post was previously filled by four-termDemocrat Victor Pichardo, who left his post in August to spend time with his family.

Yudelka Tapia, who serves as a district leader for the same Assembly district, is running unopposed in the special election for the seat.

Barring any major changes to the race, with Tapia’s election, the borough’s Assembly delegation will join its counterpart in the City Council as having a female majority body.

Other voters like Elle Lozada, 31, made sure that she voted yes for ballot measures to authorize no-excuse absentee balloting and eliminate the state’s 10-day advance voter registration requirement.

“You see what’s happening in the South where they are literally taking away the right to vote and I want to make sure we’re expanding access for all New Yorkers to vote,” she said. “If democracy ain’t happening here, than where is it going to happen?”

Other ballot measures included a measure to freeze the number of state senators at 63; a measure to establish the right for clean air and water, and a healthful environment; and a proposed change that would allow New York City civil courts to hear and decide claims for up to $50,000 instead of the current jurisdictional limit of $25,000.

Six candidates, including five Democrats and one Republican, will be up for voter consideration for five spots on the Bronx’s 12th Judicial District bench. The candidates include George R. Villegas, Patsy D. Gouldborne, Paul L. Alpert, Naita Semaj and Marissa Soto, all Democrats. The lone Republican candidate is Anthony G. Marecki.

Reach Robbie Sequeira at rsequeira@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes. 

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