Following a contentious race and a close primary, incumbent Mathieu Eugene beat back a challenge from Brian Cunningham to secure another four years as city council member for District 40, which covers Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush, East Flatbush, and Ditmas Park.
According to the unofficial vote tally, Eugene won 60.12% of the vote, with 13,840 votes. His challenger, Brian Cunningham, received 8,370 votes, or 36.36%, and the conservative candidate, Brian Kelly, received 3.33% of the vote, at 767 votes.
“I’m so delighted, so happy, and so grateful to God, for giving me the opportunity to serve my constituents and New Yorkers for four more years,” said Eugene, raising his voice over the cheers of excited supporters at his campaign headquarters on Beverly Road just off Flatbush Avenue.
“I pledge to continue to work hard to ensure that I continue to make a difference in the lives of my constituents, and in the lives of New Yorkers.”
With a third term under his belt, Eugene will have served as council member for almost fifteen years by 2021. He said that in the coming four years, he would focus on improving affordable housing, education, healthcare, and the lives and opportunities of immigrants and veterans in the district.
“I won’t be able to do all that by myself, and I cannot pretend to. But I will work with all my colleagues, from the city, state, and federal government, and also religious leaders, clergy leaders, community leaders, because the community is about all of us,” said Eugene. “Just imagine, if we decide to work together, putting our resources, our intelligence, our skill together, what New York will be.”
In the last stretch of the general election, Cunningham and Eugene debated the best policies to ensure affordable housing, educate the next generation of residents, and protect the rights of a large immigrant population in District 40.
Cunningham ran on the Reform Party ticket after losing the Democratic Primary with 30.3% to Eugene’s 41.1%. His team attempted to cut through Eugene’s voter base by canvassing, door knocking, and gathering progressive endorsements from groups like the Working Families Party.
All in all, Eugene said that he would be willing to meet and work with Cunningham, as he said he had with primary-season challengers Pia Raymond and Jennifer Berkley. But he added that he believed Cunningham and his campaign had behaved badly during the race.
“I will work with him too, but I don’t know what to expect from him, because of what I’ve been experiencing during the campaign,” said Eugene, who argued that the debates he had attended were unfairly coordinated by Cunningham’s team.
“I was nominated by the Democratic Party, by the voters, and I think they deserve this victory. I feel that the voice of people should be respected, the choice of people should be respected, and we’ve got to play with fairness. And even those who didn’t vote for me, I am their council member, and I will be their council member for four more years, and I will serve them too.”