BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Updated Wed., June 28, 8:30 p.m.: Downtown City Council incumbents fended off opponents’ spirited challenges Tuesday in the Democratic primary election.
In District 2, which includes the East Village, plus Greenwich Village over to Sixth Avenue and stretching up to Kips Bay, Carlina Rivera beat Allie Ryan, with 61 percent of the vote to 39 percent of the vote. Rivera got 4,229 votes to Ryan’s 2,747.
At the same time, in District 1, Christopher Marte took 64 percent of the vote to Susan Lee’s 30 percent. Two other candidates, Ursila Jung had 5 percent and Pooi Stewart 1 percent. Marte got 5,053 votes to Lee’s 2,406, Jung’s 414 and Stewart’s 81 votes.
The winners of the Democratic primaries in solidly blue Downtown Manhattan are all but assured of reelection in November.
City Council districts were recently redrawn a bit, but it didn’t change the local dynamics significantly enough to cause any upsets in the District 1 and 2 races.
Rivera declared “a decisive victory” in the primary.
In a statement, the Lower East Side native pol said, in part, “I am deeply grateful to the people of Council District 2, the communities that raised me and to this day make me who I am, for their enthusiastic support in my reelection to the City Council. I’ve often said it’s the honor of my life to serve the district and the city I love, and I never take for granted that you — my neighbors, my family, my friends — have entrusted me with this responsibility. Suffice to say, I’m eager to continue the work we’ve set into motion since my first election to the Council in 2017.
“Together, we have expanded access to healthcare for New Yorkers who might otherwise go without, invested in climate justice and resiliency to a historic degree, fought to create more affordable housing and hold those standing in the way to account, and increased accessibility and inclusion in the design of our parks and other public spaces. We took our rightful place as the leaders we know we can be with the nation’s first municipally funded abortion access fund in a time when access to reproductive healthcare is being decimated all over the country. We’ve brought over a billion dollars into the district we all know and love, from Kips Bay to the Lower East Side, to improve our community centers, youth and senior programming, hospitals, public safety, job-training centers and access to mental healthcare and other social services.
“And yet, we know the work is far from over in making ours the more equitable and just city we all deserve. No matter the fight, be it for public transit improvements and safer streets or fully supporting our public schools and libraries, I’m honored to stay in this with you for another two years, and I have so much hope and faith in the coalitions we’ve built to pass meaningful policy over the past five.
“Due to term limits,” Rivera continued, “I will not run for reelection in 2025, and I am eager to run this final lap with strength, compassion and integrity as I have aimed to do throughout my tenure. …I have every intention to lift up the next generation of leadership in our district as appropriate, so they are prepared to continue the work we’ve so diligently pursued. But in the meantime, I remain grateful to the people of District 2 for putting their trust in me and my team for one last term, and I’m proud to keep representing them in City Hall.”
Rivera strategically ducked any debates with Ryan during the campaign, apparently feeling they would only help her opponent, who would attack her record in office. Despite Rivera being a no-show, Village Preservation did a “debate” Zoom with just Ryan. Another debate planned by a local media outlet was called off, apparently after Rivera declined to participate.
In a statement to The Village Sun, Ryan said, “I offer my congratulations to Councilmember Rivera on being the Democratic Party nominee for Council District 2. I am proud that my campaign secured 40 percent of the vote through a constituent-funded campaign without the support of any Democrat clubs nor coverage in the major press.
“To Council District 2 residents, I encourage you to reach out to Ms. Rivera’s office to share the concerns that you have shared with me on the campaign trail:
“1. Create informed REGULATIONS for e-bikes and e-scooters to make the streets and sidewalks safer.
“2. Uphold Ms. Rivera’s campaign PROMISE to save Morton Williams supermarket and the community garden at the corner of LaGuardia Place and Bleecker Street, as well as advocate for ADAPTIVE REUSE of existing buildings as opposed to greenlighting another forced rezoning.
“3. Advocate for a congestion pricing flat EXEMPTION for residents who live in the ‘Central Business District,’ which includes Council District 2.
“4. Pass the Small Business legislation (S.B.J.S.A.) that gives small businesses real rights at the negotiating table and will help end the days of vacant storefronts and loss of mom-and-pop business-provided jobs. Tell Ms. Rivera to recuse herself as prime sponsor of the landlord-friendly Commercial Rent Stabilization Act (Intro 93), which creates a rent guidelines board for storefronts.
“Finally, I hope Ms. Rivera has heard the message from environmentalists, NYCHA residents and all constituents, paying attention and will schedule an oversight hearing for the East Side Coastal Resiliency Plan (E.S.C.R.) and call for real-time air-monitoring results, address residents’ concerns about how the park will look, commission a decking study [for a park deck over the F.D.R. Drive] and drastically reduce artificial turf in favor of real grass.
“I am grateful for the right to vote,” Ryan said. “I encourage everyone to accept the will of the majority of voters. As there is no challenger in the general election, Ms. Rivera is not just the Democratic Party nominee, but most likely to be reelected for a final term in November.
“I am proud that I ran a campaign based on substance. My campaign gave voice to constituents frustrated with the status quo of elected officials ignoring residents and having to file lawsuits against the city to repeal legislation and land-use deals that directly adversely impact residents.
“To my supporters, thank you for advancing and supporting and voting for my campaign. Please continue to advocate for the issues you feel passionately about, such as public space, small businesses and preserving the character of our neighborhoods. For those of you who worked on my campaign, thank you! I enjoyed working with you!
Ryan’s supporters, meanwhile, cheered her for running a strong, grassroots campaign, without any establishment political support to speak of.
“So about 8,000 folks voted in District 2. I’m really impressed Allie got 40 percent — I didn’t think in my wildest dream she could,” a longtime East Village activist posted on thevillagesun.com, though not publishing his name publicly. “To get the next 10 percent, a candidate would need big bucks and backing of political clubs, of which she had none. However, best showing ever in our neighborhood against the powers that be.”
Marte declared victory at a post-election party Tuesday night at Lee’s, an event space on Canal Street.
Speaking to The Village Sun the next day, he said, “All the work that we’ve been putting in… . People believe in our message and believe that we have a mandate to fight displacement and to protect 24-hour healthcare workers. That, whether you’re a gardener at Elizabeth Street Garden or a resident in Soho, you have a voice in City Hall.
“Even though we’ve only been in office for a year and a half, we have a track record. We’ve done capital projects in New York City Housing Authority buildings and our school buildings — which are some of the older school buildings — fixing potholes, not compromising against Big Real Estate.”
Susan Lee and her supporters hit Marte for having previously advocated for defunding the police and also for not passing any bills in the City Council. On primary day, the Police Benevolent Association — the New York Police Department union — sent a truck with LED panels around the district flashing anti-Marte slogans. But Marte didn’t go negative in return.
“Our opponents went extremely negative,” he said. “They went extremely low. We ran a pretty clean campaign. I think voters saw crystal clear through it.”
Marte added that he didn’t take any contributions from PACs.
“When you look at a lot of the other incumbents that got around 60 percent of the vote, we were the only incumbent that won that wasn’t supported by a super PAC. For us, it has always been about the community and taking special interests out of politics.”
Marte said that, the morning after the election, he was on the phone with Elizabeth Street Garden activists to brainstorm about how to address their recent stunning loss in court, as the city now has been given a green light to develop housing on the Little Italy site.
“It’s never an easy road,” Marte reflected, though also adding, “never a done deal.”
The Downtown Independent Democrats club, which prominently endorsed Marte, celebrated his “victory for our neighbors over big developers and outside interests.”
In a statement, the club said, “Voters recognized that Councilmember Marte has consistently stood up for community interests, been focused on and responsive to community needs, and worked against luxury developers and the violence of displacement.
“By nearly two to one, voters from the Lower East Side to Chinatown, from Tribeca to Battery Park City came together in force to reelect our friend and neighbor Councilmember Marte, embracing unity over division. With this mandate, together, we will end the horror of the 24-hour workday for home attendants, pass the Chinatown Working Group managed development plan, preserve and expand affordable housing, and get the job done.”
The club’s president, Richard Corman, said, “D.I.D. was proud to fight for Chris — because he fights for us.”