Mixed results for Caribbean American candidates

Councilman Jumaane Williams giving victory speech at the Vivid Cafe on East Flatbush, Brooklyn.
Photo by Ernest Skinner
Photo by Ernest Skinner

There were mixed results Tuesday night for several Caribbean American candidates contesting New York City’s Democratic Primary Elections.

According to unofficial results, Mayoral Candidate Bill Thompson, of St. Kitts roots, and New York City Council Candidate Haitian-born registered nurse Mercedes Narcisse were defeated; while Grenadian-American Councilman Jumaane Williams and his Haitian counterpart Dr. Mathieu Eugene retained their seats.

With 98 percent of the precincts reporting, de Blasio, whose wife’s grandparents are from Barbados and St. Lucia, received 257,034 votes, or 40.2 percent; while Thompson, whose grandparents are from St. Kitts, received 166, 516 votes, or 26.0 percent.

The results for the other Mayoral Candidates are: New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn 99, 226 votes, or 15.5 percent; New York City Controller John Liu 44,837 votes, or 7.0 percent; and former US Congressman Anthony Weiner 31,389 votes, or 4.9 percent.

Thompson, a former New York City controller and only black candidate in the Mayoral race, said Tuesday night that he was not ready to concede defeat, stating that there are “still tens of thousands of ballots that remain to be counted,” including 19,000 paper ballots.

A candidate must get at least 40 percent of the votes in the final tally to avert a run-off.

In a Primary election, in which no candidate gets the required 40 percent, the two top candidates will contest the run-off.

“We all know that this race is incredibly close, and there are still tens of thousands of ballots that remain to be counted,” Thompson told supporters at his Primary night party at the Eventi Hotel in midtown Manhattan.

“Tonight is for New York City — New York City where no dream is too big,” he added. “And we’re going to win this race to make room for every one of those dreams.”

Four years ago, Thompson surprisingly came five percentage points short of defeating incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“We took Mike Bloomberg on, and we almost beat him,” Thompson said. “Now, we’re going to finish what we started.

“Every voice in New York City counts, and we’re going to wait for every voice to be heard. We’re going to wait for every voice to be counted. So my friends, this is far from over,” he added, ending his speech by holding up three fingers, indicating three more weeks until the October 1 runoff.

His supporters then whipped up a chant, “Three More Weeks!”

De Blasio, whose campaign TV ad – featuring his large Afro-wearing, 16-year-old biracial son, Dante – resonated with some voters, said he presented “the most progressive view for this city.

“I think the choice is clear in the Democratic primary,” he said in his victory speech after midnight, at a music club in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn.

De Blasio also reflected on 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

“We were reminded that day of a crucially important lesson – that the job of those of us in positions of authority is to keep our city safe, to be constantly vigilant, to use every tool at our disposal to protect our people,” he said.

In other races involving Caribbean American candidates, Narcisse, a single mother of five, failed to create history by becoming the first Haitian-born woman to hold elective office in New York City.

With 98 percent of the precinct reporting, Narcisse lost to New York State Assemb. Alan Maisel by 18 percentage points for the 46th Council District, which includes parts of the Canarsie section of Brooklyn.

Maisel received 7, 597 votes, or 59.3 percent, to Narcisse’s 5,219 votes, or 40.7 percent.

But Nacisse’s Haitian compatriot, Councilman Dr. Eugene, staved off strong challenges from three contenders in the predominantly Caribbean 40th Council District in Brooklyn.

Dr. Eugene, the first Haitian to hold elective office in New York City, defeated his closest challenger, Sandra Thomas, by 10 percentage points.

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Eugene secured 5,913 votes, or 48.3 percent, to Thomas’s 4,584 votes, or 37.5 percent.

The other challengers – Sylvia Kinard and John Grant – received 1,265 votes, or 10.3 percent, and 478 votes, or 3.9 percent, respectively.

“I expected to win,” Eugene told Caribbean Life after midnight, when the results were announced. “I ran on my track record and my experience.

“When you see my accomplishments – all the issues, whether education or jobs, I think I was the best candidate,” he added. “My opponents did not do anything for the district.”

In the neighboring 45th Council District in Brooklyn, another predominantly Caribbean district, Grenadian American Councilman Jumaane Williams handsomely retained his seat, with 99 percent of the precincts reporting.

Williams, whose parents are Grenadian-born, secured 9,150 votes, or 74.4 percent, to Godwin Williams’ 1,613 votes, or 13.1 percent. Jean Similien received 1,531 votes, or 12.5 percent.

“I’m honored and excited for the 45th Council District to give me another term,” Williams told Caribbean Life at the victory celebration at the Vivid Café in East Flatbush.

“I’m looking forward to building and doing more, as we move forward,” he added. “We have a pretty convincing victory in the 45th Council District. I want to learn and to do better.”

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