Dianne Morales, the only Latina running in New York City's Democratic mayoral primary, has dropped out of the increasingly chaotic race. Morales' candidacy was beset by a series of high-profile internal tensions during her campaign.
"I am sending you this message to officially concede in my race to become mayor of New York City," Morales said in a video message released early Friday. "But rest assured, I will never concede on our work, because the journey towards equity and justice is far from over."
Morales - the former CEO of a non-profit organization that fights poverty in the South Bronx - was the first Afro-Latina candidate for mayor of New York.
"Thank you for believing in the possibility of creating a city - a future - that prioritizes equity and justice for everyone," Morales said.
For weeks, controversy has swirled around the Morales campaign. In May, campaign staffers for Morales launched a work stoppage in protest of leaders allegedly being terminated for taking steps to unionize. In a statement, workers described a "culture of manipulation, harassment and abuse".
More than 45 staffers and campaign workers were fired, as a number of political groups rescinded their endorsements, most notably the Working Families Party.
An LPO source with knowledge of her campaign - but who asked to remain anonymous - expressed little surprise that she conceded the race.
"There were way too many problems," the source said. "She may be a good candidate that resonates well in some communities in this city. But that was a dysfunctional campaign."
Morales focused heavily on Latino communities in the last several weeks of her campaign, spending more than $617,000 on over 500 Spanish-language TV spots - the most of any of the Democratic candidates.
"That's not enough to really be competitive," the source added.
Chaotic Race Continues
While the official election data is not yet known as a result of New York's ranked-choice voting system, Eli Valentin, a New York-based political analyst, consultant and professor, told LPO that current front runner Eric Adams won approximately 48% of the Latino vote in the Bronx and generally performed better than other candidates in other heavily Latino pockets of the city.
Adams, a former police captain, also counted on the endorsements of two of New York's most prominent Latino figures: Democratic Representative Adriano Espaillat and Bronx borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
New York's mayoral primary was thrown into chaos earlier this week after the city's Board of Elections (BOE) announced that it had mistakenly counted 135,000 âtest' votes in records.
Updated results show a tight race, with Adams approximately 2 percentage points - only about 14,700 votes - ahead of his nearest competitor, former city sanitation commissioner Katheryn Garcia. A third candidate, Maya D. Wiley, trails Garcia by only about 350 votes. Wiley was endorsed by prominent Democratic millennial Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on June 6th. The final results are unlikely to be known before July 12.
The winner of the Democratic Primary will go on to face Republican nominee and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa in the November general election. In the GOP primary, Sliwa easily beat his only rival, Dominican-born Fernando Mateo.
Mixed-results for other Latino candidates
Preliminary results suggest mixed results for other Latino candidates running for local office in New York.
The seat of Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. - who is retiring after 12 years in office in the only New York borough with a majority-Latino population - looks set to be filled by city council member Vanessa Gibson, an African-American.
In Brooklyn, however, Dominican-American Antonio Reynoso looks set to win with nearly 30% of the vote, compared to 19% for city councilman Robert Cornegy and 17% for assemblywoman Jo Ann Simon.
"I feel very honored for the trust our voters have put in me, for the clear advantage we see in the first round," Reynoso said in a statement. "For two years, we've built a broad and diverse coalition, and we grew our support by taking about the issues that matter to Brooklyn's working families."
Reynoso's likely win has already been praised by local Latino leaders.
"We are talking about a district that does not have a Latino majority," Luis Macias, a community leader in Sunset Park, told local news outlet City Limits. "That means that he has been able to connect with a mostly white and African-American electorate, because he knew how to communicate a project, not a racial identity. Winning a position in Upper Manhattan or the Bronx is an option for a Latino, but until now that was not the case in Brooklyn."
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