Victorious Caribbean Candidates Hail Preliminary Primary Results

Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, left, and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, right.

A day after New York’s Primary elections, victorious Caribbean candidates have hailed the unofficial results, with ranked-choice voting, used for the first time in the city’s elections, delaying the official declaration of a winner even up to mid-July, according to New York City Board of Elections. 

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

“The votes are in, and I can proudly say we have prevailed in the Democratic Primary,” said New York Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, in a message to constituents late Wednesday, about his landslide preliminary results. 

“I wouldn’t be here without your continued support,” said Williams, who, in the preliminary count, is far ahead of his nearest challenger, Anthony Herbert. 

Williams garnered 486,538 votes, or 71 percent, to Herbert’s 144,922 votes, or 21.2 percent. Theo Tavarez is a distant third, with 53,551 or 7.8 percent. 

“I started my journey to be your Public Advocate in 2018; and, through multiple elections, you folks have been the backbone of our campaign,” Williams said. “Thanks to your unwavering support, we were able to secure 70 percent of the vote.

“Although I am grateful to win by such a large margin, I never take an election for granted,” he added. “It’s an incredible blessing to continue to serve as your Public Advocate through crisis and celebration, and I will continue to put in work towards equity and justice for all in our city.”

City Councilmember Farah Louis

In the 45th Council District – which includes parts of Flatbush and East Flatbush in Brooklyn, and is heavily Caribbean-populated – the incumbent, Haitian American New York City Council Member, Farah N. Louis, also won the preliminary count by a landslide. 

With 82. 64 percent of the precinct reporting, Louis, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, is miles ahead of her closest rival, Jamaican American Anthony Beckford, a US Marine veteran and community activist. 

Louis has received 12,812 votes, or 76 percent, to Beckford’s (the son of Jamaican immigrants) 3,335 votes, or 19.8 percent. 

The other contender, Cyril Joseph, received 707 votes, or 4.2 percent. 

“I am deeply grateful for the support of my community, and I am so excited to continue serving my neighbors in the Council,” Louis told Caribbean Life. “Now it’s back to work – continuing our progress on expanding health care access, improving schools and increasing public safety. 

“A huge thank you to our amazing staff and volunteers, as well as the community leaders, colleagues, and our brothers and sisters in labor who supported us,” she added. “This would not be possible without their hard work and incredible passion for improving our neighborhoods.” 

In the adjacent 40th Council District in Brooklyn, which is also predominantly Caribbean, political newcomer Rita Joseph, a longtime public school teacher and community activist in Brooklyn, is ahead of her Haitian-born compatriot Josue Pierre, who is in second place. 

Joseph is attempting to succeed New York City Councilman Dr. Mathieu Eugene, another Haitian, who was prevented from running for another four-year term, because of the city’s term limit laws. Dr. Eugene unsuccessfully contested the seat for Brooklyn Borough President. 

“When I declared my candidacy, few people gave a working-class, immigrant, teen mom, public school teacher without a political background a real chance,” Joseph – who secured 5,060 votes, or 25.3 percent, to Pierre’s 4,073 votes, or 20.4 percent, in the race that involved 10 other candidates – told Caribbean Life Wednesday evening.  

“Our campaign defied the odds by demonstrating to our neighbors that our singular focus was fighting for them,” she added. “While there are still votes to be counted, I feel confident in our current position after securing the most first-place votes. 

“Last night’s results are just the beginning. I’m fully committed to working on behalf of the people of Flatbush, Prospect Park South, Ditmas Park, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Midwood, Southern Crown Heights and Kensington,” Joseph continued.  

In the 35th Council District in Brooklyn, Crystal Hudson, the daughter and granddaughter of Jamaican immigrants, is leading the seven-way race that includes Renee Collymore, the daughter of a Barbadian father. 

Hudson is trying to succeed term-limited City Council Member Laurie Cumbo in the district that comprises the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights and a portion of Bedford-Stuyvesant. 

If elected, Hudson would make history as the first openly gay Black woman in the City Council. 

“The initial votes are in, and while we wait for the full ranked choice voting process to be carried out, we feel good about our victory in this race,” she told Caribbean Life on Wednesday. 

“I’m so proud of the campaign that we’ve run – always centered in the love of this community, always focused on fighting for a stronger future for all of us,” she added. 

“And I want to thank everyone who knocked doors, talked to voters, and showed up for us at the polls. Our campaign has been powered by a broad and diverse coalition of leaders, from Congressmembers Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke (the daughter of Jamaican immigrants) to the many labor unions and workers behind us to ‘Make the Road New York and Community Voices Heard’ to the community organizations who believed in our vision,” Hudson continued. 

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Hudson received 12,308 votes, or 38.6 percent. Her closest challenger, Michael Hollingsworth, secured 11,017 votes, or 34.5 percent. 

Collymore, a former Democratic District Leader and daughter the late Barbadian immigrant, Cecil Collymore, is third, with 4,000 votes, or 12.5 percent. 

Hollingsworth said his grassroots campaign knocked over 61,000 doors, noting that he is “less than five percentage points behind establishment-backed opponent Crystal Hudson after the first rank tally.”

“Our campaign is powered by poor and working-class people who are tired of the status quo,” said Hollingsworth, a lifelong Brooklynite, tenant organizer and “dedicated fighter for housing justice”. “We’ve been let down by the political establishment and its allegiance to its donors, and we’re fighting back.” 

In the race for representation in the 46th Council District in Brooklyn, Haitian-born registered nurse Mercedes Narcisse is leading in the eight-way contest. 

With 83.48 percent of precincts reporting, Narcisse – who was endorsed by veteran New York State Assemblyman Jamaican N. Nick Perry, representative for the 58th Assembly District in Brooklyn – has received 5,856 votes, or 35.9 percent. 

Nacissse’s closest rival, Shirley Paul, a lawyer and daughter of Haitian immigrants, garnered 2,694, or 16.5 percent. 

Haitian community worker Gardy Brazela received 2,378 votes, or 14.6 percent, to take the third spot.  

Retired NYPD detective Barbadian Dr. Judy Newton is fifth with 1,422 votes, or 8.7 percent; and Guyanese Dimple Willabus is sixth with 1,199 votes, or 7.3 percent. 

 “The love I have for the community, the community loves me back,” Narcisse told Caribbean Life early Wednesday morning about her lead. “The pandemic has highlighted the issues. And I’m ready to address the issues that affect us. 

“And I’m here to represent every single family in our district,” she added about the Brooklyn district that includes the neighborhoods of Canarsie and Flatlands. “I will create more access in our community in health care, in housing, in education. And, together, we can improve the quality of life. 

“The hard work of the community – Assemblyman Nick Perry, Omar Boucher (Jamaican political strategist) – I got everybody’s support: Black, Jewish, Jamaican, Trinidadian, Guyanese, Haitians,” Narcisse continued. “Everybody came together.” 

Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn

Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, congratulated all the winners and runners-up on what she described as “a successful” New York City Primary. 

“What we need now, more than ever, is a unified party,” Bichotte Hermelyn, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, told Caribbean Life. “And that is what am committed to seeing through under my leadership. We look forward to carrying all of Democratic candidates forward.”

She also expressed strong support for Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, the frontrunner for mayor of New York City, saying that Adams’s message “resonates with people in every borough across the city. 

“That was clear while campaigning, and it is evident from the results we got last night,” Bichotte Hermelyn said. “Brooklyn is behind our next likely mayor, Eric Adams, who is leading by a margin of more than 100,000 votes.” 

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