After three days of counting paper ballots and recanvassing machines, City Councilmember Diana Reyna won re-election to a third term by a mere 251 votes.
The official count has not been certified by the Board of Elections, and neither of her opponents in the 34th District, Maritza Davila and Gerry Esposito has formally conceded, but Councilmember Reyna spend much of this week meeting with community groups and returning to City Hall to conduct official business.
“Now it is time to focus on the work we must continue to do for the peopleincreasing the supply of affordable housing; making sure that our kids have great schools; and bringing good jobs and economic growth back to our neighborhood,” said Reyna, after the recount occurred.
Support for Reyna was balanced throughout election districts in Williamsburg and Ridgewood, though Davila received 200 more votes than Reyna in the 53rd Assembly District.That district is represented by Assemblymember Vito Lopez, who is also the Kings County Democratic Party Chair.Lopez staunchly backed Davila, after a falling out between him and Reyna four years ago, and campaigned hard on her behalf, even visiting JS 250 (183 South 3rd Street) for three hours on primary day.
“Diana was able to go head to head against the county boss and almost pull even with his candidate, losing that district by 200 votes,” said Lincoln Restler, a Reyna volunteer.“In the other portions of her council district, she won solidly and made up the difference.”
Neither Davila nor Esposito returned calls for comment regarding the results of the recount, but the race appears to be over.Davila will remain on the ballot under the Working Families Party line, but a spokesperson for the WFP said that Davila campaign staff had not called to discuss the possibility of continuing to campaign through the general election.Reyna’s attorney, Marty Connor, also confirmed that the Davila campaign will not dispute the results in court.
“Realistically, it’s not much for a chance for someone to run on the WFP line to beat a Democrat in a general election cycle,” said Connor, who oversaw the recount for the Reyna campaign.
With a winning margin as small as Reyna’s, many community organizations throughout the 34th District were claiming credit for her victory.The leaders of one such organization, Churches United for Fair Housing, believe that votes from Catholic parishioners throughout Williamsburg’s South Side made the difference.Reyna and Davila heavily courted Catholic parishes throughout the campaign, distributing flyers and newsletters on the final weekend of the campaign.
“We at least able to convince parishioners to make their own decision,” said Rob Solano, Executive Director of Churches United.“That produced the memory for what Diana Reyna has done for them.”
The election has even stimulated debate among many new residents in East Williamsburg who identify themselves with a sparse but growing artist community.Arts in Bushwick Operations Director Laura Braslow believes that artists have an opportunity to lobby over their needs and priorities following the election.
“Some of the goals should be in sync with other community groups,” said Braslow.“We have a small power base but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think of ourselves as a political community.”
©2009 Community News Group
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