Assemblymember Grace Meng claimed victory by large margins in the hotly-contested 6th District Congressional primary race, according to Associated Press results.
“This is an important victory for Queens,” Meng said during her victory party at Plum Restaurant in Bayside. “This victory is about we. We made this together.”
Meng beat our her three rivals – Assemblymember Rory Lancman, Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley and Bayside allergist Dr. Robert Mittman – by winning 51 percent of the vote, according to AP reports as of 1 a.m. on June 27 when 89 percent of precincts were reporting.
Lancman — who was largely seen as Meng’s top competitor — raked in the second highest amount of votes, taking in 28 percent, while Crowley garnered 16 percent and Mittman 5 percent.
“We are celebrating this evening because of you [voters]. We are here for each other and all look out for each other,” Meng said. “Let’s go win this thing in November.”
The candidates each threw their hats in the ring to replace U.S. Congressmember Gary Ackerman after the 15-term elected official announced in March he would not seek re-election this year.
Ackerman threw his support behind Meng on May 29, saying she was “head and shoulders above the rest” in the race. Meng went into the race already backed by the Queens County Democratic Party and gained a huge endorsement at the 11th hour from Governor Andrew Cuomo. She bagged several key endorsements along the way, including a last minute boost from the New York Times.
Lancman, who saw his “almost dream of a lifetime” come to an end, said in his concession speech he would support his Assembly colleague in the general election against Republican runner Councilmember Dan Halloran.
He also praised Crowley, saying she showed “extraordinary personal courage and hard work” in her try for the seat, and thanked his campaign team and supporters.
“What we built here as a campaign — I think starting from scratch and really starting without the infrastructure that comes with the support of the county organization — is something we can be extraordinarily proud of,” he said.
Before his speech, Lancman told a supporter he thinks Mittman may have taken the difference in votes between him and Meng.
The assemblymember, who pledged not to seek re-election for his current seat, did not specify his next plans. However, there are speculations he may seek a City Council or borough president position.
The race to replace him has already begun, with two Democratic and two Republican hopefuls announcing their candidacy.
It was also unclear after her concession whether Crowley intends to seek re-election to her Council seat, but she did confirm she would help get Meng elected.
While Crowley unofficially came in third in the race, she in her speech that her efforts three months ago showed how people choose the candidates, not an organization – alluding to her lack of support from both the County and possibly the party’s chair, who is also her cousin.
“This has been a rollercoaster ride of a campaign, and we really put up a good fight,” she said. “We showed that organized labor still has a voice in New York City.”
Meanwhile, a handful of hopefuls have already been eyeing Meng’s seat, while the assemblymember prepares for the November 6 general election against Halloran and Green Party candidate Evergreen Chou.
“Let’s run this campaign based on issues,” she said to Halloran. “Let’s not discuss race or religion or partake in scare tactics.”
With additional reporting by Alexa Altman and Billy Rennison