Making History in Manhattan: Marisol Alcantara wins state Senate primary

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Source: New York State Board of Elections. Election districts reporting 234 of 235. Credit: Sangsuk Sylvia Kang/The North Polls

By Nafisa Masud

On a quiet Tuesday night in Inwood, as sidewalk squares cool after hours baking in the midday sun, the residents of upper Manhattan dance. But they’re not dancing for the change in temperature — they’ve got bigger things to celebrate. The results of all but one election district touted Marisol Alcantara as the victor of the contested primary race for New York Senate District 31. With this win, she’s become a trailblazer that — if elected in November — stands to be the first female Latina  state senator in New York history.

While the final votes were being counted and local news flashed Alcantara’s growing margin of victory on screens across Manhattan, the Dominican native’s supporters waited patiently outside 809 Sangria Bar & Grill.

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They busied themselves with music and warm recollections of the campaign. Marilu Galvan, a long-time friend and advocate, wasn’t just here to dance.

“It’s the people’s right to vote and get involved in the system because it’s the only way to get power. She [Alcantara] represents the whole gamut of the community, and that’s very important for people to understand. She’s prepared to work and protect every single member of the community, and that’s what brings me here.”

Inside the lounge the crowd grew, and applause erupted as Alcantara, dressed in red, finally appeared with Congressman-elect Adriano Espaillat and Democratic Assembly nominee Carmen De La Rosa in tow.

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Espaillat introduced the victorious Alcantara, praising her skills as a mother and activist, adding (in Spanish), “She’s also concerned for the most poor, the most needy in this community.”

Alcantara then took the microphone, thanking the state senators there in support, including Jeff Klein (D-34) and David Carlucci (D-38), as well as the members of the several labor unions who endorsed her political run. Alcantara said,”Even though people said ‘Nobody knows her, or where she’s from’, … out of all the people in New York we’re the ones that thought the senate needed a little bit of spice.”

Alcantara then proceeded to thank others, including her running mates Robert Jackson, Micah Lasher and Luis Tejada, and ended the night with a powerful message for both her voters and the next generation. Hear it here:

 

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.”

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

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