Harlem Speaker Mark-Viverito’s Long-Time Aide Diana Ayala Wins Harlem City Council Primary

September 21, 2017

Patch reports that City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito‘s long-time aide Diana Ayala (right) has emerged victorious in a closely-contested primary race to succeed the speaker in New York City’s eighth City Council district.

State Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez officially conceded the race for the Democratic nomination after the full vote count — including absentee and affidavit ballots — determined that Ayala won the most votes. The New York City Board of Elections has not yet certified the results of the Sept. primary election.

Rodriguez congratulated Ayala on her win, but also criticized her campaign for “negative rhetoric.”

“Unfortunately, this campaign was up against incumbency and negative rhetoric that did not communicate the truth about what I have accomplished in this community,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “This is a critical time for East Harlem and the South Bronx, and now more than ever, we need to work together to address the challenges of affordable housing, transportation, and public safety.”

Rodriguez’ concession all but locks up District 8 for Ayala in the liberal-leaning district. Ayala will face Daby Carreras, who went unchallenged for the Republican nomination, in a November general election.

Ayala claimed victory on election night, long before Rodriguez conceded. Election night returns showed Ayala led Rodriguez by a margin as slim as 122 votes, according to uncertified results from the city board of elections. Ayala captured 43.6 percent of the vote compared to Rodriguez’s 42.2 percent in the four-way race. Candidates Tamika Mapp and Israel Martinez captured about 9.5 and 4.3 percent of the vote respectively.

Ayala laid out her plan for the district — which also represents parts of the South Bronx — on Wednesday.

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“El Barrio and the South Bronx are at a crossroads, like so many other communities in our City. I will fight tirelessly to ensure that we do everything to protect the lives and provide affordability for those who have grown up, are raising their families, or are retiring here,” Ayala said in a statement. “As our next Councilwoman, I will be a community champion who is unafraid to stand up to the wealthy and special interests to deliver better schools, more affordable housing, and a safer City.”

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