U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez fended off her first serious challenge in years last night, soundly defeating three rivals in the Democratic Primary. With 97% of the vote counted, she has 58% in the 7th Congressional District, which includes sections of the Lower East Side and Chinatown as well as a large swath of Brooklyn. Brooklyn City Councilman Erik Dilan came in second with 31%. Dan O’Connor had about 8%; George Martinez 2.7%.
The race, one of the most closely watched nationwide last night, drew a lot of media exposure due to a long-running feud between Velazquez and Brooklyn political boss Vito Lopez. The controversial Assemblyman backed Dilan. Velazquez won the endorsements of most prominent Democrats, including President Obama and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. She made last minute campaign stops, alongside local elected officials, at several Lower East Side locations yesterday, including at two senior centers.
“It’s a victory that belongs to the people,” Velazquez said last night. “Clearly the voters and constituents sent a clear message, that they are the ones who decide who represents their communities.”