To the relief of the country's Democratic leaders, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries won the Democratic primary in the 8th Congressional District Tuesday over the divisive City Councilman Charles Barron.
The Associated Press deemed Jeffries the winner late Tuesday. With 54 percent of the precincts reporting, he'd received a landslide 75 percent of the votes, to Barron's 25.
"You know the political pundits said that this was going to be a close race, but that was before the people had spoken,” Jeffries said at a victory party in Ft. Greene.
Jeffries will likely win the general election in the heavily Democratic district.
Barron was defiant in defeat Tuesday night, The New York Times reports, blaming the “the white media,” “the Wall Street elite,” and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for his loss.
“When we launched the campaign, we knew we were going to be up against powerful opposition,” Barron said. “Never in the annals of the state has a candidate been up against the entire Democratic leadership.”
For the uninitiated, Barron, a former Black Panther, is an extremely divisive politician. He once eulogized the late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadaffi, another time escorted ruthless Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe into City Council, called the government of Israel "the biggest terrorist in the world," and still another time, during a hearing on reparations, said, "I want to go up to the closest white person and say, ‘You can’t understand this, it’s a black thing’ and then slap him, just for my mental health."
Without polls, and with some big endorsements for Barron, The Times had declared Barron's campaign as experiencing a "surge" two weekends ago.
Four major New York newspapers, in no uncertain terms, endorsed Jeffries. The Assemblyman also earned the endorsements of Senator Chuck Schumer and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Meanwhile Barron-- who had earned legitimate endorsements from retiring Congressman Edolphus Towns, as well as District Council 37, the city's largest public union-- also got the unwanted and bizarre endorsement of David Duke, a self-described white nationalist and former KKK Grand Wizard, who said he appreciated Barron's stance on Israel in video posted to YouTube.
Elswewhere, there were no upsets in Tuesday's primary elections in New York. Incumbents Charlie Rangel and Nydia Velazquez both won their party's nomination for Congress. Rangel, despite an ethics scandal, fended off a formidable challenge from Adriano Espaillat, while Velazquez survived her toughest opposition in years from a few different candidates. Grace Meng won the nomination for the 6th District in Queens, and could become the first Asian-American to represent New York on Capitol Hill.