Democratic Socialist candidate Julia Salazar sailed by incumbent State Senator Martin Dilan in New York’s 18th Senate District Democratic primary last night.
According to unofficial Board of Election results with 99% of the vote counted, Salazar received 20,603 votes or 58.3 percent of the electorate to Dilan’s 14,614 votes or 41.3 percent of the electorate.
“This is a victory for all of you who every day knocked on doors and had meaningful conversations with our neighbors about these issues, about this race, about this movement,” Salazar said to an enormous crowd of raucous supporters packed in The Well Bar in Bushwick at her victory celebration.
“This is a victory for all of us who believe a better world is possible, that we are going to build a New York that works for the many, and not just for the few,” Salazar said.
Salazar’s imminent general election victory in the heavily Democratic district is set to make the 27-year-old the youngest ever New York State Senator.
She cast her campaign as the young, progressive candidate fighting gentrification in Buswick, which is the fifth most rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in New York City. She also received support from a number of stars from the Blue Wave progressive movement, including from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, a former campaign organizer for Bernie Sanders, who recently beat U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, parts of the Bronx) in the Congressional primary.
Meanwhile, Dilan was cast as part of the old guard of Democrats beholden to real estate interests. He has represented the district which includes Bushwick and parts of Bed-Stuy, East New York, Greenpoint and Williamsburg since 2002.
Salazar’s victory, though, follows a series of recent revelations indicating that she lied about her background throughout the campaign.
In an interview with the New York Times, Salazar admitted that she did not graduate from Columbia University as she previously said, but that she completed coursework there.
Her campaign also asserted that she was a working-class immigrant, born in Colombia while she was actually born in the United States and, as The Jewish publication Tablet revealed, lived in a wealthy neighborhood.
She was also the president of a conservative, pro-life group in her time in Columbia and was a registered Republican while living in Florida.
None of that seemed to bother her supporters, however, who frequently broke out in chants of “Julia” and “People Power.”