New York Congressional Primary polls are closing in an hour as the final New Yorkers place their votes to determine congressional candidates for November’s general elections.In Harlem, voters will decide who will succeed Congressman Charles Rangel, who is retiring after more than 40 years of service.
In New York City, known for its liberal leanings, the winner of the Democratic primary often steamrolls the Republican contender. Those wishing to vote must be registered Democrats. You can look up your polling location by using NYC.gov Poll Site Locator. Polls close at 9 p.m.
In the 13th congressional district — which spans Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, part of the Upper East Side in Manhattan and the southern tip of the Bronx — Democrats will someone other than retiring Congressman Charles Rangel for the first time in decades.
There are nine candidates running in the Democratic primary for the 13th district: Assemblyman Keith Wright, former Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell, Clinton advisor Suzan Johnson Cook, Mike Gallagher, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, former political director at the Democratic National Convention Clyde Williams and Sam Sloan, and Yohanny Caceres.
One Harlem resident, Katherine Williams, was glad to see Rangel go.
“It’s a beautiful feeling, he needs to retire,” said Katherine Williams, who is voting for Clyde Williams, “He stated he was doing stuff but in reality he was just putting money in his pocket like the rest of the people.”
Despite the historic election, turnout to the polls in Harlem, at least at P.S. 175, was underwhelming.
“It’s been droobs and drabs all day. We expect to see a few more people come after work, but nothing like it was in April,” Gregory Draves, the polling site coordinator at P.S. 175, said. “The people who are here are the people who are informed and that’s because they are part of the party machine.”
Draves predicted that turnout at other polling sites, specifically upper Manhattan, may have been better but he doubted that the numbers would come close to the presidential primary in April.
But even though turnout was slow in Harlem, candidates such as Suzan Johnson Cook were out on the street to meet potential voters.
“We’ve been circulating,” Cook said. “I was at my polling place at 6:30 this morning and it was a good flow this morning. My neighbors have voted and they were clearly wanting to get to the polls. And then we went to two other spots and the spots we went to were flowing.
Then Cook gave her pitch to Harlem voters.
“I’m a daughter of this district, I’m a daughter of working families, I’m a working class family member and mother of two sons,” Cook said. “I’m running because I care about this district. I’ve worked for two Presidents of the United States, I’ve worked with Congress, I was appointed by Congress and the President so I’ve got access but I’ve also got the interest of my community and district in mind.”
Keith Wright has been endorsed by prominent members of the Democratic party such as Rangel, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former NYC Mayor David Dinkins and State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
Kim Parker of Harlem voted for Wright because of his work in the community.