Espaillat, a Democrat, has served in Congress since 2017, representing Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, and parts of the Upper West Side and the Bronx.
He was challenged this year by Republican Lovelynn Gwinn and Conservative Party candidate Christopher Morris-Perry.
With 67 percent of in-person voting precincts reporting as of 9:56 p.m., Espaillat led with 91.8 percent of the vote, trailed by Gwinn and Morris-Perry with 7.1 and 1.2 percent, respectively. New York will not begin counting absentee ballots until next week.
Espaillat was first elected in 2016 to fill the seat being vacated by longtime Congressman Charlie Rangel, who was retiring. He narrowly defeated Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright in that year’s Democratic primary, and has easily won two general elections before this year in the heavily Democratic district.
On his website, Espaillat touts his opposition to President Donald Trump and to the city’s proposed rezoning of Inwood, which has been stalled since 2018. Espaillat, a native of the Dominican Republic who is the first formerly undocumented immigrant to be elected to Congress, is also vocal about immigration issues pushing for the passage of the DREAM Act and other protections.
In an op-ed for Patch in September, Espaillat called on the city to delay the start of in-person classes until January, citing uncertainties posed by the coronavirus pandemic. (School buildings ultimately reopened to students in late September.)
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“No one disagrees that full-time in-person tuition is best for students,” he wrote. “But given the high rate of COVID-19 transmission and the start of the flu season, we are adding more variables to the equation.”
Gwinn, on her own website, describes herself as a pro-business candidate, supportive of legal immigration but opposed to amnesty for undocumented immigrants, which she argues has “encouraged more people to break our laws and enter our country illegally.”
Gwinn has also voiced support for school choice, a position favored by charter school advocates, and called for abolishing the entire federal income tax system by repealing the 16th Amendment to the Constitution.