Nydia Velazquez, a 20-year veteran congressional representative, cruised through a fiercely contested Democratic primary today to win the party nomination.
With 97 percent of polls reporting last night, Velazquez took 58 percent of the vote, crushing her strongest challenger, City Council member Erik Dilan, who had 31 percent.
Dilan’s campaign was backed by Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez, a longtime political foe of Velazquez, and the race had become a more bitterly fought contest than Velazquez has faced in years.
Velazquez’s other two opponents in the race, Dan O’Connor and George Martinez, fared even worse, with 8 percent and 3 percent of the vote respectively.
The loss was a disappointment to Martinez, whose long-shot campaign under the Occupy Wall Street banner we documented in a cover story this month. But Martinez and his team had said all along that the race was intended as a prototype for a new sort of campaigning, built on community organizing, direct action, and minimal fundraising. They called the strategy Bum Rush The Vote, and said they hoped to field more candidates using the same strategy.
Last night, at a subdued election-night gathering for the Martinez campaign at the Yippie Cafe on Bleeker Street, Martinez’s deputy campaign manager Cecily McMillan introduced the next Bum Rush The Vote candidate: Martinez’s childhood friend Jelani Mashariki, who will be running for the state assembly seat soon to be vacated by Hakeem Jeffries.