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.