Williams defeats Blake, Mark-Viverito for Public Advocate

Despite the loss, Councilman Rafael Salamanca, Jr. congratulates Assemblyman Michael Blake on a well-run campaign for Public Advocate.
Photo by Dennis Cohen

There might have been some cheering in Brooklyn after Councilman Jumaane Williams was confirmed as the winner of the city’s special public advocate election; but that celebration didn’t fully make it up to the Bronx as Assemblyman Michael Blake found a consolation victory in winning his own borough on Tuesday, February 26.

Actually, in a race comprised of 17 candidates, without the identification of any political parties we are used to seeing, only two had Bronx credentials; Blake and ex-Council Speaker Mellissa Mark-Viverito, whose previous district covered both the south Bronx and some of east Harlem.

Williams’ commanding 133,809 estimated citywide vote total drew 9,659 of those from the Bronx, second to only Blake, whom recorded an estimated 10,467 Bronx ballots.

Mark-Viverito finished fourth in the borough with an estimated 7,204 votes.

She came in behind fellow upper Manhattan councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, whom tallied an estimated Bronx 8,068 votes, although, she had better numbers than both Blake and Rodriguez citywide. Of the 17 esteemed candidates, Mark-Viverito finished third overall with an estimated 44,158 votes just behind Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich whom totaled 77,026 estimated ballots cast.

Blake finished fourth in the race with an estimated 33,198.

Given that Mark-Viverito ran on the ‘Fix the MTA’ party line, it’s fairly obvious what her priorities for the city were.

For over a decade, she had also advocated for the legalization of marijuana, using its tax revenue for MTA repairs.

Blake on the other hand focused more towards housing improvements, especially regarding the NYC Housing Authority and senior living.

He also supported the Amazon deal, publicly stating that the Long Island City deal should have been reshaped rather than scrapped.

“We still had over 30 thousand New Yorkers support us and ran an exceptional race,” Blake said after learning of the disappointing news during his watch party at hip-hop bar and restaurant Beatstro.

One of those supporters was Alfredo Angueira, Beatstro’s owner.

He braved the brutal winds of Election Day to campaign at nine different, outdoor locations for Blake.

A large part of Blake’s digital campaign strategy relied on social media promotions from ‘Bronx celebrities’ like Angueria or Amaurys Grullon, owner of Bronx Native clothing.

“We learned a lot about the city during this campaign, but the city also learned a lot about the Bronx,” Blake said in confidence. “This is just the begining for us,” he added, referring both to himself and his borough.

Blake continued on to express his hopes that Williams will focus and advocate for investments in Bronx schools, NYCHA repairs and up keep, as well as work to continue job creation.

As far as a political future for the assemblyman, it’s all up in the air currently.

“I hope my future involves more than three hours of sleep a night,” the runner up joked.

Although, the Brooklynite victor can’t exactly sit back and enjoy his special election win just yet.

Come June, Williams may have to go through another primary if he’s challenged by a fellow Democrat, and then compete in the general election in November.

Melissa Mark-Viverito during her concession speech on election night.
Photo by Curtis Heath

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