Democratic incumbents go nearly unchallenged

Hunts Point and Mott Haven voters provided few surprises in the Nov. 4 elections, as they re-elected the local incumbents by overwhelming majorities. Though Republicans won big on the national stage, Democrats continued to maintain their stranglehold on the Bronx.

In the 15th District for the U.S. House of Representatives, Jose E. Serrano defeated Conservative Party challenger Eduardo Ramirez to win his 13th consecutive term in Congress, garnering 94 percent of the vote.

Democrat Jeffrey Klein comfortably held his seat in the State Senate’s 34th District, which he’s occupied since 2004, though Republican candidate Alexsander ‘Alex’ Mici fared better than many other local challengers, winning almost 13 percent of the vote. The district includes Riverdale, Morris Heights and a tiny segment of Hunts Point that takes in the food distribution markets along the waterfront.

Democratic incumbent Ruben Diaz, Sr. will be heading back to Albany for his sixth term. The borough president’s father defeated Conservative challenger Jasmine Marte with 96 percent of the vote, while running as the candidate on both the Democratic and Republican tickets.

State Assembly races, too, fell easily into the Democrats’ column. In Hunts Point, Marcos Crespos won a third term representing the 85th District, defeating Republican challenger Janelle King with 94 percent of the vote.

In the 79th district, which covers an oblong slice of the borough starting in Melrose, taking in part of Morrisania and extending north, newcomer Michael Blake handily won with almost 92 percent of the vote.

Blake was the only one of the local winners whose candidacy did not give voters a sense of deja vu. The 31 year-old former Obama operative was running for the seat vacated by Eric Stevenson who was convicted of bribery earlier this year. Blake easily carried the district over his Republican challenger Selsia Evans, and Marsha Michael of the Working Families Party. Michael had received the endorsement of Borough President Ruben Diaz Sr. when she ran against Blake in September’s Democratic primary.

In the State Senate in Mott Haven and Port Morris, Congressman Serrano’s son Jose M. Serrano celebrated victory when voters re-elected him to New York State’s 29th District. Serrano Jr. beat the Republican challenger Kevin Barrett by capturing nearly 90 percent of votes cast.

Carmen Arroyo claimed an unsurprising victory in the 84th District, besting Republican challenger Angel Molina. Arroyo has served as Mott Haven’s Assembly representative since 1994. She won a new term with more than 91 percent of the vote.

“I’m grateful to have been able to participate in the democratic process,” Molina said by phone the day after the election, but criticized the advantage incumbents hold in the current system, saying “We need campaign finance reform. Newcomers are at a financial disadvantage.”

“You can’t win over an electorate based on rhetoric,” he said. “You have to provide for the community.”

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