Incumbent leaders win Downtown

While incumbent Councilmember Alan Gerson lost his seat in the Sept. 15 primary, the incumbent Democratic district leaders mostly won reelection Downtown.

The one newcomer to win was Paul Newell, in District 64, Part C, but he had the support of current district leader Adam Silvera, who decided not to run for reelection. Newell beat his opponent Avram Turkel with 66 percent of the vote (1,015 votes), according to the Board of Elections’ certified results released Thursday.

District leaders act as liaisons between local elected officials and constituents, help rally the party and are not paid for their work.

Newell is best known for unsuccessfully challenging Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in the Democratic primary last year. This year, Newell supported Gerson challenger Pete Gleason in the Council primary, while Turkel supported Gerson.

Another Gleason supporter, Jean Grillo, handily beat her challenger Noel Jefferson for female district leader for District 66, Part B. Grillo received 75 percent (2,229 votes).

Two other contested races, for District 64, Part B, both saw the Gerson-supporting incumbents win, though the margins were smaller. Alice Cancel beat challenger Norma Ramirez with 57 percent (1,487 votes) and John Quinn beat David Diaz by only 56 votes, with 51 percent (1,325 votes).

An item in the hardcopy Sept. 18-24 Downtown Express, “Incumbents win in leader races,” prematurely stated that Quinn had won that race, when in fact the race was too close to call at that point, based on unofficial results that showed Quinn leading by only 53 votes.

On Wednesday, before the Board of Elections certified the results, Diaz said he was conceding the race rather than challenge the results or ask for a recount.