Torres takes early lead in congressional race

City Councilman Ritchie Torres has taken a commanding lead in the crowded race to replace Rep. Jose E. Serrano in Congress.

With all 490 districts counted in the 15th Congressional District late Tuesday, Torres had nearly 30% of the vote in the Democratic primary. The district includes Hunts Point, Longwood, Mott Haven, Melrose Port Morris, as well as other Bronx neighborhoods to the north, and is often referred to as the most Democratic district in the country.

The results are far from final, however. A majority of voters citywide have opted to vote via absentee ballot to avoid possible exposure to Covid-19 from other voters at poll sites.

The final result will not be known for at least a week. The city’s Board of Elections will begin counting the absentee ballots on July 8.

Twelve candidates are running for the right to succeed Serrano. Behind Torres, Assemblyman Michael Blake, who relinquished his seat representing Melrose and other Bronx neighborhoods in the Assembly to run for Congress, received the second most votes on Tuesday, with 18% of the total.

Ruben Diaz Sr., who some had projected could win the race based on name recognition alone, is third with 14%. The controversial councilman has made wave after wave in recent years with his outspoken stances against gay marriage and abortion rights, among other issues polls show most New Yorkers support. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsee Samelys Lopez tallied 13%.

Former Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has just 4% of the vote. 

In the 79th Assembly District, where Blake is stepping down, social worker Chantel Jackson has a razor-thin lead of just 240 votes over the district’s Female District Leader Cynthia Cox. The district includes Melrose.

In the 85th Assembly District, of which Hunts Point is part, Diaz Sr. staffer Kenneth Burgos has 51% of the vote, to former Bronx Borough President Freddy Ferrer staffer William Moore’s 35%.

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