Brooklyn Incumbents Win In 2018 Congressional Primaries

Brooklyn Incumbents Win In 2018 Congressional Primaries
Photo: Zainab Iqbal/Bklyner

The 2018 Congressional Primaries have come and gone. The winners? Two incumbents: Dan Donovan of District 11 and Yvette Clarke of District 9.

District 9 (Park Slope, Flatbush, Sheepshead, Crown Heights) had a total of 28,533 voters (just 15,046 voters more from the last primaries in 2012) and District 11 (Bay Ridge, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights, Gravesend, southern Bensonhurst) had 36,551.

Donovan was expected to win the Republican side, as all incumbents are. He received 63.9% of the votes (12,774). On the Democratic end, Max Rose won and received 64.7% of the vote (10,712). Rose was followed by Michael DeVito with 19% of the vote (3,150), Omar Vaid with 8.7% (1,441), Radhakrishna Mohan with 3.9% (647), Paul Sperling with 2.4% (392), and Zach Emig with 1.3% (216).

District 9 was met with a nail-biting loss. Newcomer Adem Bunkeddeko received 48.1% of the votes (13,729) with incumbent Yvette Clarke receiving 51.9% (14,804). Bunkeddeko received the endorsement of the NY Times who had called his résumé “impressive” and his biography “inspiring”.

On the other hand, the Times was not all that impressed by the Congresswoman’s track record, saying that  “major legislative accomplishments have been regrettably far between in her more than decade-long tenure in Congress. Residents of Brownsville, Park Slope, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush, Sheepshead Bay and Crown Heights deserve a more energetic advocate in Washington.”

Photo: Zainab Iqbal/Bklyner

And just on the day before elections, Politico published a piece citing Clarke’s four former staffers who remained anonymous. They “described Clarke as a congresswoman who is deeply charismatic, but also checked out. She was ‘always late,’ and rarely visited her district office in Brooklyn during recesses.”

The staffers noted that Clarke canceled all of her home district events in August of 2017, avoided public transit whenever she could, was often pushed by Una Clarke (her mother and former council member) to attend events, and wondered “if she really even wants to do this,” the piece said.

In the general elections, Donovan will be running against Rose and Henry Bardel from the Green party. Clarke will be running against Joel Anabilah-Azume from the Reform party and Lutchi Gayot from the Republican party.

What’s Bunkeddeko up to now? He’s planning for the future.

“This is how change begins. Last night, we sent a message to the people of Brooklyn and the Democratic Party establishment that in this time of national crisis, simply maintaining the status quo is not enough,” Bunkeddeko told Bklyner. “Thousands of voices, across every community in this district, spoke out in resistance to business as usual, and to demand results.”

“While we may have come up short of our goal by the narrowest of margins, we defied political expectations and demonstrated that no incumbent should ever feel safe if they are not doing the work the voters need them to do.”

“Our issues – the people’s issues – are not going away and together, we will continue to build our movement to fight for a better Brooklyn for all families. Today, I congratulate Representative Clarke and wish her and the people of Brooklyn the best of luck in her next term; tomorrow, we wake up and start planning for the future.”


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