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35th District: clear victory for Cumbo in hard-fought race vs. Fox (57.5% to 41.5%)

Also see Gotham Gazette article on Fox.

In a low-turnout primary election with no shocks to incumbents (Mayor Bill de Blasio won re-nomination easily), incumbent 35th Council Member Laurie Cumbo won a clear victory in a hard fought Democratic primary race, with 57.5% of the votes to challenger Ede Fox's 41.5%.

The race is tantamount to election, though Cumbo will face the Green Party's Jabari Bisport, who beat rival Scott Hutchins by 31-4 votes, in the general election.

Cumbo and Fox essentially grew their 2013 totals, with Cumbo's 10,116 votes 33.8% more and Fox's 7,561 votes 36.6% more. Fox, who focused on the Bedford-Union Armory development proposal and distinguished herself from Cumbo on development (to the left) and safe-streets issues, was unable to dramatically broaden her base while cutting into support for the incumbent. (Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park was barely an issue, but Fox got significant support in Prospect Heights, where she co-founded the political club Prospect Heights Democrats for Reform.)

Cumbo  had the advantage of incumbency, including four years of presence/record in the district, more money, major union support, and backing from other elected officials, Politico noted that de Blasio's team helped the campaign and successfully "encouraged the Working Families Party not to back Fox." It remained neutral.

"I think it's important to not only be against everything, but you've got to identify what you are for," Cumbo said at her victory party, according to Politico. "And not only what you're for but, like, what are you doing to progress forward? So I think unfortunately, with the armory, it's become too much of a political pawn for people."

Interestingly enough, a Fox backer, Jonathan Westin of New York Communities for Change, said the election still signaled a strong rejection of "Mayor de Blasio’s gentrification plan for the Bedford Armory."

Limited coverage

The New York Times, which didn't bother to cover the race (or endorse; it backed Fox in 2013), offered the below paragraph last night in its article, finally excising the incorrect Bedford-Stuyvesant location.
My annotation

On the Green Party

I called the Green Party race a "useful sideshow" because of some of the worthy ideas raised, like potential new taxes, but... it was a sideshow. The presence of two Green Party candidates took up time in relatively short public debates and limited the potential for tough follow-up questioning--and intra-candidate questioning--for Cumbo and Fox.

Presumably Brisport will try to critique Cumbo from the left. She--or her supporters, at least--will surely respond that he's been a limited presence in the district while she was working as Council Member.

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