PRIMARY RESULTS: Revenge of the ‘real Democrats’ as Ramos & Liu topple state Senate incumbents, and more

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The two Queens state senators who were formerly part of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) felt the wrath of Queens Democratic voters during Thursday’s primaries.

State Senator Jose Peralta lost his bid for re-election to Democratic challenger Jessica Ramos in the 13th District primary covering areas of northwest Queens. On the opposite side of the borough, state Senator Tony Avella of the 11th District lost to former City Comptroller John Liu, who’s making a bid at a major political comeback.

Both Avella and Peralta were former members of the IDC, a breakaway group of state Senate Democrats who collaborated with Senate Republicans. They took criticism from traditional Democrats who argued that the caucus blunted efforts to pass progressive legislation in the state capital.

Although the IDC reunited with the traditional Senate Democrats earlier this year, it seems that wasn’t enough to convince Queens voters to forgive the incumbents. Both Ramos and Liu positioned themselves as “real Democrats,” and that tactic appeared to be the difference.

With 99% of scanners counted, Ramos had over a 2,100 vote edge on Peralta (12,181 to 10,021) in the 13th Senatorial District, which covers much of Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Woodside.

Liu, meanwhile, won with a more than 1,000-vote lead on Avella (12,133 to 10,846). He’ll face the winner of the Republican primary for the seat, former businesswoman Vickie Paladino. She lead over Simon Minching by nearly 400 votes (1,640 to 1,220). More than 83% of all scanners in both contests have been counted. The 11th District covers much of northeast Queens including Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck and Whitestone.

Another defeated Queens incumbent was Assemblywoman Ari Espinal, who had won the 39th Assembly District seat in an April special election but lost on Thursday to civic activist Catalina Cruz. With 97.83% of scanners counted, Espinal trailed Cruz by more than 700 votes; Cruz has 3,736 votes to Espinal’s 3,016. A third candidate in the primary, Yonel Letellier-Sosa, factors in the race as a bit of a spoiler, as he has just 225 votes.

The 39th Assembly District includes areas of Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights.

Other local results from the Sept. 13 primaries include the following:

  • Breezy Point businessman Tom Sullivan is the projected winner of the 15th Senatorial District primary over attorney Slawomir Platta. With 98.74% of machines counted, Sullivan has a more than 1,600 vote lead on Platta (3,188 to 1,508). Sullivan will face incumbent State Senator Joe Addabbo in the November election for the right to represent the district spanning most of southwest Queens and the Rockaways.
  • Assemblyman Brian Barnwell cruised to victory over challenger Melissa Sklarz in the 30th Assembly District primary. With 97.73% of all votes tallied, Barnwell had 5,214 votes while Sklarz — who was bidding to become the first transgender woman elected to the state legislature — had 2,902. The 30th District covers areas of Astoria, Long Island City, Maspeth, Middle Village and Woodside. Turnout in this primary was way better than in 2016; Barnwell upset then-Assemblywoman Margaret Markey in that race in which a total of 2,543 votes were cast.
  • Assemblyman Clyde Vanel handily won his primary contest over challenger Oster Bryan in the 33rd Assembly District race. With 99% of scanners counted, Vanel had 10,959 votes while Bryan had 2,794 votes. Vanel will likely win re-election in November as the representative of the 33rd District covering the neighborhoods of Bellerose Manor, Cambria Heights, Hollis, Queens Village and St. Albans.

Meanwhile, in the top of the ballot races as reported by The New York Times, Governor Andrew Cuomo easily fended off a challenge from civic activist and actor Cynthia Nixon, and Public Advocate Letitia James won the four-way race for the Democratic Attorney General nomination. Incumbent Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul also held on to her seat over Brooklyn City Councilman Jumaane Williams.

Results in the local races were directly provided by the New York City Board of Elections.

Updated at 9:15 a.m. Emily Davenport contributed to this report.

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