Ten candidates ran in a March 23rd special election to fill the vacancy created when Ritchie Torres left for Congress. And on June 22, the district will be one of only two in the city to host both a Democratic primary—featuring eight names, seven of which are active candidates—and a Republican primary, featuring two. The primary winners will face off in November’s general election.
The question is whether the outcome in June or November will be any different than it was in March, when tenant lawyer Oswald Feliz prevailed in a race settled by ranked-choice voting. Feliz was sworn in to the Council recently and is, technically, the incumbent. His current term ends on Dec. 31, and the upcoming elections will decide who holds the seat from Jan. 1 through 2023.
Whichever Republican candidate—Aramis Ocasio or Ariel Rivera-Diaz—prevails in the primary will face steep odds in November. Democrats enjoy a 16:1 registration advantage in the district. In 2017, Democrat Torres won re-election with 94 percent of the vote. Rivera-Diaz ran in the nonpartisan March special election and placed 10th out of 10.
The Democratic primary is a tougher call. In the special election, it took 10 rounds of counting for Feliz to break the 50 percent mark under the city’s Ranked Choice Voting system—he only had 37 percent of the vote in the ninth round—and he ended up with just shy of 1,800 votes in a district housing 60,000 Democrats.
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