Democrats easily won the four special elections in New York City on Tuesday amid abysmal turnout.
While no change in party allegiance occurred, the complexion of the city’s Albany delegation shifted subtly, with two seats shifting from men to women, one of them flipping from a White man to a Latina, younger officials taking charge in a few cases and at least two of the districts gaining a more progressive representative in the state capitol.
With 90 percent of the vote, Democratic Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda easily won the 32nd District State Senate seat in the Bronx, besting the Reform Party’s Pamela Stewart-Martinez (7.1 percent) and Republican Patrick Delices (2.4 percent). With 91.5 percent of scanners reporting, turnout was just over 2 percent.
In the 80th Assembly district in the central Bronx, Democrat and Gov. Cuomo aide Nathalia Fernandez, the former chief of staff to the man who vacated the seat to join the City Council, Mark Gjonaj, easily beat Republican business advocate Gene DeFrancis, 81.5 percent to 18 percent. Fernandez also had the Independence line, while DeFrancis had the backing of the Conservative and Reform parties. Turnout looked to be about 3.6 percent, with 98.3 percent of scanners counted.
Public-interest lawyer Harvey Epstein (Democratic/Working Families) took 90.6 percent of the vote against Republican Bryan Cooper (4.7 percent), Reform Party candidate Juan Pagan (2.3 percent) and Green Adrienne Craig-Williams (2.2 percent) in the 74th Assembly district, which covers the Lower East Side and is vacant because Brian Kavanagh won a State Senate seat through his own special election last November; that seat was vacated by the retiring Daniel Squadron. Some 95 percent of scanners had been tallied by press time. Turnout was 5.9 percent.
In the 39th Assembly District in Elmhurst, Queens, Ari Espinal had the Democratic, Working Families and Women’s Equality ballot lines and no opponent in the race to replace Francisco Moya, who joined the City Council, She took 92 percent of the vote; 8 percent of the ballots went to write-in candidates. About 10 percent of scanners remained to be added to the vote count, but turnout looked to be just 1.9 percent.
The winners take office immediately but face election again this fall, with a possible primary on September 13 and the general election on November 6.