By Gina Martinez
With seemingly low voter turnout the Democratic primary race in District 29 looked like it could go either way, but Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman (D-Springfield Gardens) came out victorious, defeating opponents Lorraine Gittens-Bridges and Linda Guillebeaux with 73.3 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results reported by NY1.
Hyndman had only been an assemblywoman for six months after a special election in November following William Scarborough’s resignation due to corruption charges. Since jumping into office, Hyndman has hit the ground running and sponsored several pieces of legislation, served on task forces that help homeowners and small business owners and moved to improve education in the community. Hyndman has lived and worked in the neighborhood for years.
Gittens-Bridges, a Rochdale resident and education activist, ran against the incumbent because she thought her years as a community advocate had given her access and connections that could help her get things accomplished in Albany. Bridges worked with the National Parent Teacher Association for years and ran on improving the conditions of schools.
Earlier in the day things got off to a slow start. At 9:45 a.m. in Springfield High School volunteers waited patiently for voters but acknowledged that it would most likely be a slow day. The gymnasium was almost completely empty. One voter, who came and went, already had her mind made up: She was voting for the incumbent.
“Voting has always been important to me,” Marie Faison said. “It’s especially important in this upcoming national election, but this primary has been good, too. Hyndman was the only candidate sending out information. I got nothing from the other candidates. She kept calling with updates, so I’m going for that.”
At 10:30 a.m. the Success Academy in Springfield Gardens was a similar scene, the quiet and empty gym filled with volunteers behind the desk waiting to help incoming voters. A front desk worker said it was busy at around 6 a.m. Voters usually come before and after work so they were expecting it to get busy again after 5 p.m.
At the polls were a couple who just finished voting. They also supported Hyndman, citing her involvement in the community during her short time as an assemblywoman.
“We’re voting for who is going to do the most for our community,” said Joseph Bryant, who stood with his wife, Marcia. “Hyndman has gone out and worked for senior citizens like us and has worked on programs for the youth, which is important because we have a grandson. She’s involved in the community and has reached out.”
By the afternoon volunteers at the polling station in Springfield High School said there was a steady stream of voters coming in throughout the day but no surge. Representatives for both Bridges, including her husband, and Hyndman said they were fairly confident in the outcome and both candidates were waiting for the results.
Willie Raealais, who voted around 6 p.m., said she cast her ballot to keep Hyndman in office.
“It’s important to vote in every election,” she said. “It keeps the community strong. She’s already in office and I believe she’ll continue her good work and win tonight.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart