New York City
Historic win for Latino in Brooklyn sheds light on borough's progressives
Dominican-American Antonio Reynoso will become the first Latino borough president in Brooklyn's history.

In a historic first, a Latino has been named as Brooklyn Borough President - a victory that political insiders say is a rare positive for the Progressive wing of the Democratic Party in an election that has so far heavily favored moderate candidates.

On Wednesday, Dominican-American City Councilman Antonio Reynoso declared victory in the ranked-choice election after accumulating nearly 55% of the vote, compared to 45% for Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon.

projects.thecity.nyc/nyc-2021-primary-election-results/democratic.html

"Our campaign was always about building a Brooklyn for all of us - no matter your race, your background or what zip code you live in - and I'm so honored by the support that brought us to this victory today," Reynoso said in a statement following the win.

Reynoso will take the place of Eric Adams, the former Brooklyn Borough President who was also declared winner of the city's Democratic mayoral primary.

With the win, Reynoso will become the first Latino to become Brooklyn Borough President.

Approximately 20% of Brooklyn's population of about 2.5 million is comprised of Latinos - a considerably smaller proportion than that of the nearby Bronx (54%) and Queens (28%).

"Our campaign was always about building a Brooklyn for all of us - no matter your race, your background or what zip code you live in - and I'm so honored by the support that brought us to this victory today,"

Experts, however, note that Reynoso's success in the Brooklyn is a reflection of the progressive leanings of many of its residents, rather than his support among Latinos.

Reynoso, for example, was endorsed by the progressive New York Working Families Party (WFP) as well as Puerto Rican-born United States Senator Nydia Valezquez, and high-profile state senator Julia Salazar.

Another elected official that endorsed Reynoso, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, said that the position of Borough President requires "a fierce champion for working people and social justice."

"I've been with Antonio in the political trenches, when it was tough and powerful leaders who were pushing back, he always kept his word, standing strong to lift up all communities," she said.

In an interview with LPO, Eli Valentin, a New York-based political analyst, consultant and professor, said that Reynoso's success in the borough is a reflection of the progressive leaning of many of its Democratic residents, rather than his popularity among Latinos.

"He's Latino, but he wasn't seen as the Latino candidate. He pretty much represented the progressive wing of the party," Valentin said. "The results show that the progressive community in Brooklyn is growing."

Valentin added that Reynoso's victory also shows an "ideological divide" in the borough, as well as across the city.

Eric Adams, the former Brooklyn Borough President who has been crowned the winner of the Democratic mayoral primary, and Vanessa Gibson, the front-runner to be Bronx Borough President, are considered moderates.

"People saw Jo Anne Simon as representatives of the moderate wing, and [Reynoso] pulled this off with the support of most progressive groups," he said. "That shows that progressives in Brooklyn are a political force when it comes to elections. The progressive movement there is rising."

A volunteer in the Reynoso campaign - who asked to remain anonymous - said that race "wasn't really a factor" in the win.

"Antonio [Reynoso] is a guy who talks about all the right things - life in the neighborhoods, the justice system, reforming the NYPD, and housing," the source said. "That's what people like. Those issues don't only impact Latinos in Brooklyn."

Just ahead of the election, Luis Macias, a community leader in the heavily-Latino area of Sunset Park, told local news outlet City Limits that Reynoso's popularity demonstrates an ability "to connect with a mostly white and African-American electorate."

"He knows how to communicate a project, not a racial identity," Macias said. "Winning a position in Upper Manhattan or the Bronx is an option for a Latino, but until now was not the case in Brooklyn."

LPO has reached out directly to Antonio Reynoso for comment on his electoral win.


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