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Caribbean candidates triumph in midterm elections

From left, Sarah Louis , judicial delegate for the 42nd Assembly District, Councilman Jumaane Williams, Mathylde Frontas, Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, Mathylde’s sister.
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In an unusually very high voter-turnout in midterm elections in the United States that observers say illustrates strong opposition to President Donald J. Trump, several Caribbean Democratic candidates in New York romped to victory Tuesday night with overwhelming majorities.

Uninterrupted rain throughout Tuesday and problems with the voting machines did not prevent voters from casting ballots in an era of Trumpism.

According to New York State Board of Elections results, popular Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, won in a landslide, garnering 167,199 votes, or 87.59 percent, to her Republican Haitian-born challenger, Lutch Gayot, who received 10,336 votes, or 10.13 percent.

Clarke, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, noted that her victory came on the 50th anniversary of the first Caribbean American woman, Shirley Chisholm, to run for the United States Congress.

The late Chisholm, whose mother was Barbadian and father Guyanese, was also the first Black woman to run for the US Congress. She had represented the then 11th Congressional District in Brooklyn.

“I’ve demonstrated to the people of this district (9th Congressional) that I am committed to them,” Clarke told Caribbean Life Tuesday night.

“But I still have more work to do in the era of Trump — that this district has opportunities to sustain itself, that we use voter-strength to push for the goals of my community,” she added.

With the Democratic Party regaining the US House of Representatives, Clarke, a senior member of the House Energy Committee, said she will be in a better position to help her constituents.

“The victory will help to invest in infrastructure, health care, among a host of other things,” she said.

In the New York State Senate, Democratic Senator Roxanne Persaud, a Guyanese-born immigrant, regained her seat in a landslide in the 19th Senatorial District in Brooklyn.

Persaud received 64,940 votes, or 86,90 percent, to her Republican challenger, Jeffrey Ferretti, who received 7, 419 votes, or 9.93 percent.

“By winning the seat, we can continue doing what we’re doing,” Persaud told Caribbean Life Tuesday night at the Democratic Party Club headquarters in the Canarsie, Brooklyn. “I’m not focusing on one group of people. When you do that, you’re polarizing people.

“I do a lot of social issues in my community — foster care, senior care, etc.,” Persaud added.

For just the third time in 50 years, the Democratic Party gained control of the New York State Senate Tuesday night in what pundits said was a clear repudiation of Trump’s policies.

In the 20th Senatorial District in Brooklyn, Zellnor Myrie, a young lawyer of Costa Rican parentage and Jamaican-born grandmother, defeated the incumbent Jesse Hamilton, who ran for the Independent Party. Democrat Myrie had trounced Hamilton in the Democratic Primary.

In Tuesday’s midterm, elections, Myrie received 67, 803 votes, or 88.06 percent, to Hamilton’s 5, 327 votes, or 6.92 percent.

In New York State Assembly, Caribbean Democratic candidates were also triumphant.

Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, handsomely beat two challengers.

Bichotte garnered 26, 817 votes, or 87.66 percent; Republican Matthew Williams received 2,173 votes, or 7.10 percent; and Jamaican Anthony Beckford, of the Green Party, received 631 votes, or 2.00 percent.

“I feel good!” Bichotte exclaimed on Election Night. “I think, throughout the whole year, I’ve been working hard to fill all corners of my constituen­cy.”

Bichotte’s Assembly Democratic colleague, Diana Richardson, the daughter of St. Martin and Aruban immigrants, was unchallenged in the 43rd Assembly District in Brooklyn. Richardson received 33,345 votes, or 92.94 percent.

In her first bid for elective office, Haitian Dr. Mathylde Frontas, a Columbia University professor, was victorious in the 46th Assembly District in Brooklyn.

In a four-way race, Democrat Frontas received 14, 750 votes, or 51.84 percent; Republican Steven Saperstein received 11, 823 votes, or 41.55 percent; Ethan Lustig-Elgrably, of the Working Families Party, received 421 votes, or 1.48 percent; and Patrick Dwyer, of the Green Party, received 284 votes, or 1.00 percent.

Trinidadian Jaime Williams was overwhelmingly re-elected in the 59th Assembly District in Brooklyn. Democrat Williams received 26, 229 votes, or 77.69 percent, to Republican Brandon Washington’s 6,306 votes, or 18.67 percent.

Updated 11:40 am, November 7, 2018
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