With Few Races Called In Brooklyn, It Will Come Down To Absentee Ballots

The results trickling in from the city Board of Elections for Tuesday’s primary election show many races too close to call. We are unlikely to know the final results for a while, possibly weeks, because of the abnormally high number of absentee voters this year due to coronavirus.

This year, the BOE sent applications for absentee ballots to all eligible voters, aiming to discourage large crowds at poll sites. Data from the BOE released Tuesday shows that the Board distributed 209,776 absentee ballots to voters in Brooklyn, but has only received back 3,072 of those ballots. It is unclear how many ballots were requested by voters in Brooklyn; a spokesperson for the BOE told Bklyner that the Board does not yet have that number because of the various streams through which applications arrived. Tens of thousands of voters still had not received an absentee ballot by election day; some of those voters chose to stay home while others decided to head to the polls.

Congressional District 9 – Clarke Likely To Keep her Seat

In Congress, Rep. Yvette Clarke of Central Brooklyn’s 9th District had a surprisingly massive lead over second-time challenger Adem Bunkeddeko, considering how close the race was between the two in 2018. With 97% of scanners reporting, Clarke has 62.2% of the district’s vote, compared to 17.85% for Bunkeddeko. Council Member Chaim Deutsch has claimed 9.42%, Isiah James has 9.35%, and Lutchi Gayot has 1.01%.

A district map made by Steve Romalewski, the director of the CUNY Mapping Service and perennial local election-night mapmaker, shows Clarke having dominated in East Flatbush, Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, and Brownsville, while Bunkeddeko leads in Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Windsor Terrace. Deutsch reigns supreme in Midwood and Sheepshead Bay. Romalewski notes that the map omits absentee ballots.

Will Maloney Keep Her Lead Once Absentee Ballots Are Counted?

A far closer race is shaping up in the 12th Congressional district, which includes Greenpoint as well as parts of Manhattan and Queens. Rep. Carolyn Maloney holds a narrow lead over challenger Suraj Patel, whom she handily defeated in 2018: Maloney has 41.56% of the vote, while Patel has 39.93%. Lauren Ashcraft holds 13.29% of the vote and Pete Harrison has 4.88%.

A map by Romalewski shows Maloney handily taking care of business in the Upper East Side section of the district, while Patel dominates in the Greenpoint, Long Island City, and Astoria sections. In midtown Manhattan and the East Village, results appear pretty evenly split.

Reps Velazquez and Nadler Keep Their Seats, Rose Will Face Malliotakis In November

Reps Nydia Velazquez and Jerry Nadler appear to have easily dispatched their primary challengers. Meanwhile, Nicole Malliotakis is running well ahead in the GOP primary to run against Max Rose in the 11th District, which encompasses part of South Brooklyn along with Staten Island.

Brisport Leads Over Establishment Backed Wright, Zinerman Ahead of Cohen

In the State Legislature, Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) -backed Jabari Brisport has a sizeable lead in the 25th Senate District, where he is aiming to replace the retiring Senator Velmanette Montgomery, who has represented the area in the Senate since 1985. Brisport has 52.25% of the vote so far, compared to Brooklyn Democratic Party-backed Assemblymember Tremaine Wright, with 40.61%; Jason Salmon trails behind with 6.96%.

In the race to replace Wright in the Assembly’s 56th District, county party-backed Stefani Zinerman is running 13 points ahead of Justin Cohen, 56.18% to 43.11% respectively.

Assemblymen Mosley and Ortiz Barely Ahead of DSA Challengers 

DSA’s two other insurgents in Brooklyn are running behind the incumbents they are challenging, but the races are still close. In the 57th Assembly District, Assemblymember Walter Mosley has 51.91% of the vote so far, compared to DSA-backed Phara Souffrant Forrest, with 47.83%. And in the 51st Assembly district, Assemblymember Felix Ortiz has 38.6% of the vote compared to DSA-backed Marcela Mitaynes with 31.11%; Katherine Walsh has 20.7% and Genesis Aquino has 9.27%.

Other Incumbents Did Well

The only DSA incumbent in Brooklyn, Julia Salazar, easily won her primary. Central Brooklyn Assemblymember Diana Richardson trounced former IDC State Senator Jesse Hamilton in the 43rd District primary, 71.44% to 28.27%. State Senator Roxanne Persaud also defeated primary challenger Keron Alleyne, 74.04% to 25.65%, and Senator Diane Savino beat back challenger Rajiv Gowda 72.33% to 26.39%.

Assemblymember Joseph Lentol, who has represented North Brooklyn in the Assembly since 193 and is currently the second longest-tenured assemblymember, holds a sizable but not overwhelming lead over challenger Emily Gallagher. Lentol so far has 57.33% of the vote to Gallagher’s 42.04%.

In the GOP primary to replace Malliotakis in her Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn Assembly seat, Michael Tannousis is running ahead of Marko Kepi, 61.04% to 38.7%.

In Brooklyn as of 2:30 p.m. today only the 18th Senate District primary, won by Salazar, was called, according to the New York Times, along with the presidential race, which Joe Biden easily won as the only candidate still officially running. It’s not clear how long it will be until winners can be declared. So far, about 159,000 votes have been counted in Brooklyn for the Democratic presidential race, compared to 310,000 in 2016.

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Ben Brachfeld

Ben Brachfeld

Ben Brachfeld is a freelance reporter based in Brooklyn. His work has also appeared in Gotham Gazette, City & State, and Gothamist. Reach out to him via email at benbrachfeld@bklyner.com, or on Twitter @benbrachfeld.

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