De La Rosa beats out incumbent for Assembly 72 seat

Source: New York State Board of Elections. Credit: Sangsuk Sylvia Kang/The North Polls

By Emily Churchill, Danielle Prager, Emily Harris and Allana Haynes

Assembly District 72 was always going to be a tough race, with incumbent Democrat Guillermo Linares facing multiple rivalries from within his own party. But the result was relatively unexpected: political newcomer Carmen De La Rosa won the primary on September 13 with 46.2 percent of the vote.

De La Rosa’s win could be traced, in part, to the support of Democratic nominee for U.S. Congress Adriano Espaillat, who is the presumptive replacement for U.S. Congressman Charles Rangel. Espaillat endorsed both De La Rosa and Senate District 31 primary winner Marisol Alcantara after he called 2016 the “year of the woman.”

Espaillat has been dubbed “the kingmaker” by the New York Times, but perhaps after this election he should instead be called the queenmaker.

De La Rosa, 30, was appointed chief of staff to Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez in 2014 and was elected as a Democratic district leader for the 72nd Assembly District the following year. De La Rosa ran on a platform that focused on women’s rights, neighborhood beautification and educational improvement.

This is a difficult defeat for Linares, who held the seat from 2011 until 2013 and won it back in 2014. In 1992, Linares became the first Dominican to hold public office in New York City when he served on the City Council until 2001. Linares received 32.4 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s primary.

Democrat George Fernandez challenged De La Rosa and Linares. Recently introduced to North Manhattan politics, Fernandez served as chairman of Community Board 12 from 2013 to 2015 and is currently the council leader of Division 376 for the Public Employees Federation. He ran on his recovery from his troubled past, as well as his activity in local government and support of affordable housing initiatives. He received 8.2 percent of the primary vote.

Some 13.2 percent of the votes were blank, void or write-ins.

De La Rosa and Fernandez could not be reached to comment. Linares and his campaign manager Angel Audifferd declined to comment.


Candidates out and about on election day

By Louis Baudoin-Laarman, Summer Meza, Danielle Prager, Somayeh Malekian, Allana Haynes, Abigail Morris

Above: Democrat incumbent O’Donnell of AD69 is campaigning for the primary by greeting people outside PS165. Credit: Somayeh Malekian/The North Polls

Above: Steven Appel’s message to residents after casting his vote at Grace United Methodist Church in AD69. Credit: Abigail Morris/The North Polls

De La Rosa shares platform with members of the community. Credit: Allana Haynes/The North Polls
De La Rosa hands out campaign fliers to passersby on Sherman Avenue. Credit: Allana Haynes/The North Polls
De La Rosa encourages the community to vote on election day. Credit: Allana Haynes/The North Polls
De La Rosa receives support from her biggest fan, her father. Credit: Allana Haynes/The North Polls

The most loyal campaigners–Mom and Dad

By Elizabeth Haq, Allana Haynes



Covering the state primaries

The first Dominican woman stands to be elected to the state Senate, beating three men to represent Democrats in the district sprawling along western Manhattan. Another Latina defeated an incumbent in a race to the Assembly. And the first gay Assemblyman kept hold of his seat.

Columbia Journalism Students hit the streets of North Manhattan (including Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood and Morningside Heights) to cover the state primaries of September 13. Of particular note in these elections were the races of State Senate District 31 and Assembly Districts 70 and 72.

On this site, you will find the results of the three contested primaries, coverage of election day and biographies of the candidates from North Manhattan.