Sept. 14, 2018 By Tara Law
While Queens and New York State voted solidly for incumbent Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic gubernatorial primary yesterday, voters in the 13th Senate District and 39th Assembly District showed that they are ready for change in the State Legislature by choosing newcomers over the incumbents.
Voters in the 13th Senate District, which encompasses Corona, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Woodside, chose Jessica Ramos over State Senator Jose Peralta, who has held the seat since 2010. Ramos took 12,181 votes, 54.76 percent of the total, to Peralta 10,021 votes, or 45.05 percent.
The overlapping 39th Assembly District covering the same areas chose Catalina Cruz over incumbent Aridia Espinal, who has held the seat since January.
Cruz won 3,736 votes, 53.43, to Espinal’s 3,016 votes, or 43.14 percent. A second challenger, Yonel Sosa, took 225 votes, or 3.22 percent.
Peralta was running for his ninth Senate term while Espinal made a bid for her first full term. Espinal took the Assembly seat in a special election in April after Francisco Moya stepped down to join the City Council. She was unopposed in the special election as the Republican party did not run a candidate.
Both Ramos and Cruz ran as champions for progressive values.
Ramos, a 33-year-old Jackson Heights resident, said she would work to make housing more affordable, support a plan for single payer healthcare, reform the MTA, and secure funding for schools.
Ramos also billed herself as a “real Democrat,” and implied that Peralta— a former member of the since disbanded Independent Democratic Conference, a Republican-aligned breakaway group — was not.
This strategy appears to have been successful, as six IDC members— including former IDC head Senator Jeffrey Klein of the Bronx— were defeated yesterday.
Meanwhile, Cruz, a 35-year-old Jackson Heights resident, emphasized her background as a formerly undocumented immigrant who has faced many of the same challenges as her voters, such as unaffordable housing and the threat of deportation.
Cruz said that she would work to secure new protections for immigrants, back legislation to keep rents affordable, and push for New York State to give control of New York City Transit back to the City.
The New York general election is on Nov. 6, but no Republican challenger is set to oppose either Ramos or Cruz.