In one of the smallest margins among the primary races throughout the city, incumbent Councilmember Diana Reyna (D-Williamsburg) appears to have won re-election in the 34th Council District, though her main challenger, Maritza Davila, has not conceded the race.
With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Reyna earned 4,205 votes (45.57 percent) to Davila’s 3,982 votes (43.15 percent).Gerry Esposito, District Manager of Community Board 1, finished third with 1,041 (11.28 percent).The results have not been certified and the final margin could remain in doubt until an official tally has been completed.
Nevertheless, a clearly jubilant Reyna addressed a weary overflow crowd of supporters at her campaign headquarters (300 Bedford Avenue) before moving the party to Le Feu Lounge (270 South 5th Street) to dance the night away on Tursday.Cheers of “Four More Years!” from the remaining Reyna volunteers and family members reverberated throughout the walls of the club.
“This was your victory.This was the people’s victory,” said Reyna.“We sent the loudest message to the powers that be that they have to remember to respond to the demands, the needs of this district, not their personal interests.”
It was a different scene at the Bushwick Democratic Club (290 Wyckoff Avenue, Bushwick) Tuesday night, where Davila had held her campaign operations.Scores of exhausted, bleary-eyed volunteers milled about the street corners while Davila met privately with senior campaign staff members, her attorney and Assemblymember Vito Lopez (D-Williamsburg), who runs the Kings County Democratic Party.Davila and her staff did not return calls for comment as this article went to press.
Attorneys from both campaigns have been communicating with each other early Wednesday morning regarding election procedures.Board of Election officials are planning to count paper ballots on Thursday and recanvass ballot machines on Friday.Martin Connor, the former State Senator who is representing the Reyna campaign, expects the count to continue through the weekend.He remains optimistic Reyna’s vote margin will hold.
“I don’t think the paper ballots will overcome it, but you could see large shifts in the vote in re-canvassing machines,” said Connor.“It is a little to early for filing in court.”
The apparent victory is a hard-fought one for Reyna, who mobilized a network of volunteers and union workers throughout Williamsburg’s South Side to match hundreds of Davila volunteers stationed throughout the district.Lopez himself stood outside Junior High School 50 (183 South 3rd Street) Tuesday night to support Davila, though unofficial counts had Reyna outperforming Davila in several South Side election districts.
“If 200 to 300 votes won the 34 for Diana, every volunteer, every worker was needed,” said Rob Solano, a Reyna volunteer and head of Churches United for Fair Housing.“Without them, this would not have contributed to defeating a machine candidate like Maritza.”
Morgan Pehme, Esposito’s campaign manager, was less optimistic about the victory, calling Tuesday’s results “the death of the reform movement in Brooklyn.” Esposito declined to comment.
“All of the candidates backed by so-called reform clubs and running on platforms of reform didn’t just go down in flames, they went down in a humongous pyre,” said Pehme.