Rodriguez concedes: Diana Ayala wins primary, will face Republican in November election

Robert J. Rodriguez has conceded to Melissa Mark-Viverito staffer Diana Ayala, making her the Democrat who will run in the general election on Nov. 7. If she wins, as widely expected, Ayala will replace her term-limited boss as representative for the 8th City Council District.

Diana Ayala, at right.

After an airtight vote in the Sept. 12 Democratic primary left City Council candidate Diana Ayala barely a percentage point ahead of her main challenger, State Assemblyman Robert J. Rodriguez has finally conceded defeat. If the NYC Board of Elections certifies Ayala as the winner on Sept. 26, as expected, she will move on to face her Republican challenger in the general election on Nov. 7.

Rodriguez, who serves Assembly District 68, which consists mainly of East Harlem, issued a press release on Sept. 19, throwing jabs at Ayala, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s deputy chief of staff. He wrote that “despite this loss, thousands stood up against negative campaigning. As our nation has divided substance over style, and nasty versus constructive, our district too faced these challenges. The struggle clearly continues.”

“Unfortunately, this campaign was up against incumbency and negative rhetoric that did not communicate the truth about what I have accomplished in this community,” Rodriguez said. “This is a critical time for East Harlem and the South Bronx, and now more than ever, we need to work together to address the challenges of affordable housing, transportation, and public safety.”
The 8th Council District is split almost evenly between East Harlem and the South Bronx, from Highbridge in the west through Mott Haven in the east.
The seeds of Ayala’s victory were sewn in the Bronx. While 51 percent of voters on the Manhattan side of the district went for Rodriguez to just 38 percent for Ayala, Ayala won more than 55 percent of the Bronx vote, to Rodriguez’s 31 percent. At last count, Ayala led Rodriguez by just 43.64 percent to 42.20 percent out of a total of 8,490 votes cast.

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