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Behind a solid bloc of Hasidic voters in Williamsburg, seniors and public housing residents from Greenpoint to the Gowanus, Steve Levin handily won the Democratic primary for the City Council in the 33rd District.
“I am elated but also hopeful. I have a feeling of deep responsibility to live up to the trust that people put within me,” said Levin,minutes after learning about his victory.
With no Republican opponent — though a Conservative Party candidate, Elizabeth Tretter, will be on the ballot — the win virtually assures Levin of the seat, replacing current Councilmember David Yassky.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, and 15,422 votes tallied, Levin, backed by his former boss, King County Democratic Party Leader Vito Lopez, outpaced his nearest rival, Jo Anne Simon, by more than 2,000 votes.
Levin finished with 5199 votes (33.71 percent), followed by Simon with 3,109 (20.16 percent).Isaac Abraham came in third with 1,937 (12.56 percent), closely followed by Evan Thies with 1,915 votes (12.42 percent) and Ken Diamondstone with 1,324 (8.59 percent). Doug Biviano finished with 1,127 (7.31 percent) and Ken Baer collected 811 (5.26 percent).
All numbers have yet to be certified by the city’s Board of Elections.
At just before midnight on Tuesday, Levin’s supporters spilled onto Wyckoff Avenue in front of his headquarters at the Bushwick Democratic Organization (279 Wyckoff Avenue, Bushwick) in jubilation for an impromptu block party.Joining Levin at the party was his father, Michael, who spent much of the day campaigning in Park Slope and said he was most proud of his son’s character throughout the lengthy primary.
“He didn’t have a single bad word to say about any of his opponents,” said Michael Levin.“I was as proud of him for that as much as I am of him winning.”
For the other candidates in the race, several who had been running for more than a year, it was a deflating defeat. Simon, who had been raising money since 2004, said she was proud of her campaign and vowed to continue to serve downtown Brooklyn as its Democratic District Leader.
“I’ll still be there to vote, against the county leader (Vito Lopez) as I had before.When he is wrong, I’ll let him know,” said Simon.
Thies, who finished fourth, thanked his supporters in an e-mail sent on September 16, urging them to continue to work on important campaigns in the community.
“Our ideas about how government should work, and what New York should become are still as important as ever,” said Thies.“And I promise you: my passion to create progressive change in this city has not lessened one bit.”
Though several candidates said turnout was lower than they predicted, it was unexpectedly high in the Hasidic quarter of Williamsburg, where approximately 5,000 Orthodox Jews voted on Tuesday.
Levin dominated polling locations near Taylor Wythe Houses (632 Wythe Place, Williamsburg), which reported among the highest voting totals in the district.
Abraham believes turnout there and in other parts of South Williamsburg contributed to his third-place finish.
“I’m very proud and honored.I stand tall,” said Abraham.“My platform was heard.I thank all my supporters and even some who didn’t vote with me, and all the other candidates who did not make it.They were all respectful.”
In the end, it was Levin’s night to celebrate.Rich Mazur, executive director of the North Brooklyn Development Corporation, who celebrated with Levin volunteers and hundreds of Hasidic supporters in the wee hours on Wednesday morning, said that his candidate’s work ethic earned the hard-fought victory.
“I’ve never seen a candidate work as hard as he did,” said Mazur.“If he works as hard as he did campaigning in the district, we will be in great shape.”
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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