Alcantara is a heavy favorite to claim victory in the 31st State Senate District currently held by Adriano Espaillat. Espaillat, who endorsed Alcantara, is moving up to the U.S. House of Representatives to replace long-time representative Charles Rangel. The 31st State Senate District represents Washington Heights, Inwood and the far western edge of Harlem and the Upper West Side.
While Alcantara’s general election race is expected to be easy, the Democratic primary was anything but simple. Alcantara won a three-person race over Robert Jackson and Micah Lasher by just hundreds of votes. Alcantara finished first with 32.7 percent of the vote, Lasher finished second with 31.6 percent, and Jackson finished third with 30.6 percent. Just 533 votes separated first place from third.
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During Alcantara’s victory speech on primary night she thanked the elected officials and unions that endorsed her, but most of all thanked the voters.
“Because of you, there will once again be a Latina in the New York Senate chamber,” Alcantara said in front of an energetic crowd on Sept. 13.
Alcantara has already said she’ll join the Independent Democratic Conference in Albany, a breakaway group of Democrats under the leadership of Sen. Jeff Klein of the Bronx. They have aligned with Republicans in the past, but target middle- and working-class concerns like paid leave and a $15 minimum wage.
Her opponents in Tuesday’s general election are unlikely to be as close as Jackson or Lasher. Melinda Crump is running as the Republican nominee, John Toro is running as Conservative and Julia Willebrand is running for the Green Party. All three ran unopposed in the primary.
Crump works in public relations for Sageworks, a financial data company, and has been endorsed by the Jewish Voice. Willebrand is a college professor and activist who routinely runs for office on the Green Party ticket, including for mayor in 2001 and state comptroller in 2006.