Jackson and Espaillat: rivals cross paths on primary day

By Summer Meza

After casting a vote for himself in Washington Heights, State Senate candidate Robert Jackson claimed that he is more “for the people” than his competitor Marisol Alcantara, who has run a campaign on her grassroots background.

“I feel the way I do when I’m finishing a marathon,” said Jackson. “Tired, but excited that I’m so close. My main competition today is apathy from voters.”

Minutes after Jackson left the Fort Washington Collegiate Church polling station, the man who defeated him for the same Senate seat two years ago,  Adriano Espaillat, cast his vote. Espaillat, who is now the Democratic candidate to replace U.S. Congressman Charles Rangel, is backing fellow Dominican Alcantara as his successor.

“I am very optimistic,” said Espaillat after casting his vote. “I think we’re gonna come out in big numbers today. God is with us.”

Despite support from the incumbent for Alcantara, there is still a sense that Jackson’s history with the neighborhood could help him.  He served twelve years as a City Council member before resigning because of term limits.

“I’ve seen him around for 20 years, he seems to know the people and the neighborhood,” said Lazaro Rodriguez, a voter and Washington Heights resident. “I’ve never heard anyone talk bad about him. He’s of the people, that’s all I’ve ever heard.”

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