In her second election victory in just less than six weeks, Haitian American New York City Councilwoman Farah Louis Tuesday night defeated her primary challenger Caribbean American Monique Chandler-Waterman in the much-watched 45th Council District race in Brooklyn in the New York Democratic Primary.
With 95 percent of the polling precincts reporting, Louis, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, defeated Chandler-Waterman, the daughter of Barbadian and Jamaican immigrants, by 10 percentage points, almost the same margin as in the Special Election for the seat on May 14.
In essentially a two-way race, Louis — the deputy chief of staff for the district’s former City Council representative, Jumaane Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, who, in February, was elected New York City Public Advocate — received 51.69 percent of the votes cast in Tuesday’s Primary to Chandler-Waterman’s 41.36 percent.
In the Special Election, Louis had received 42 percent of the votes, in the race that involved eight candidates, to Chandler-Waterman’s 30 percent.
Williams endorsed Chandler-Waterman, his former community outreach director, in both the Special Election and the Primary.
Though their names remained on the Primary ballot, after contesting the Special Election, the other candidates, most of whom were Caribbean-born or of Caribbean parentage, fared poorly Tuesday night. Some of the candidates did not actively campaign for the Primary.
Xamayla Rose, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, received 1.75 percent of the votes; Jamaican-born, L. Rickie Tulloch 1.70 percent; Barbadian / Grenadian American, Jovia A. Radix 1.45 percent; Trinidadian, Anthony Alexis 0.47 percent; Adina Sash 0.96 percent; and Victor Jordan 0.54 percent.
After placing third in May’s Special Election, lawyer Radix, the daughter of Barbadian and Grenadian immigrants, had told Caribbean Life that she was not contesting the Primary.
But while also not contesting the Primary, Tulloch said he was supporting Chandler-Waterman.
“A unified 45th (45th Council District)!” shouted Louis in her victory speech Tuesday night, at the Caribbean-owned Suede Restaurant, on Clarendon Road in East Flatbush, in the heart of the Caribbean Community in Brooklyn.
She asked boisterous supporters to repeat “a unified 45th.” They enthusiastically obliged.
The 45th Council District comprises the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Flatlands and Canarsie.
“This is what unity is all about,” added Louis, flanked by, among others, Caribbean American, Jewish and Muslim supporters. “To every member, this win is for you.
“This election was for the residents of the 45th,” continued Louis, whose speech was punctuated with chants of “Sarah! Sarah! Sarah!” “I’m proud to be your representative, and we saw it in the numbers.
“When my opponent degraded me, we took the high road,” she said, referring to Chandler-Waterman. “This was a grassroots campaign. We got there because of your efforts. Our work has just begun. I promise to carry this energy (to City Hall).”
New York State Assemblywoman, Rodneyse Bichotte, also the daughter of Haitian immigrants, who had pushed Louis to contest the seat, asked the crowd: “Are you fired up?”
“Yes!” they shouted back.
“I just want to say, thank you, thank you, thank you,” said Bichotte, representative for the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn and the first Haitian American from New York City to be elected to New York State Assembly.
Earlier, Guyanese-born New York State Senator Roxanne Persaud, who represents the 19th Senatorial District in Brooklyn, told Caribbean Life that she did not support any candidate in the race because of its divisiveness.
She, however, said that she had sent Louis a text message on his victory.
“I just want to congratulate her,” Persaud said. “I know she’ll bring the community together. That’s what she was elected to do, and I think she’ll do that.
“It’s great that more women are getting into elected office,” she added.
Louis — who was endorsed by New York City Mayor, Bill DeBlasio and Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams, among a host of other elected officials, community leaders, organizations and labor unions — said she intends to address affordable housing for district residents; City support for small businesses and start-ups; job opportunities; improved school infrastructure; “and the desperate need for high-quality and holistic health care centers for residents.”
Chandler-Waterman could not be reached for comment, but Williams congratulated Louis on their triumph.
“Council Member Farah Louis won a second, very tough race, and the 45th District has clearly spoken again,” he told Caribbean Life.
“As the community begins to heal and unify after this election, let’s all work to help her serve the community we all love,” he added. “Congratulations Council Member!”
With Louis’s victory in the Democratic Primary, she will occupy the seat until the general elections in November.
If she wins the general elections, she will serve the remainder of Williams’s term, which runs through 2021.