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Democratic candidate Tony Simone has been declared the winner of the 75th District Democratic Assembly Primary. Assemblyman Dick Gottfried “passed the torch” to Simone after he was voted ahead of Layla Law-Gisiko, Chris LeBron, and Harrison Marks for the position.
Celebrating his victory at the Chelsea Bell, Simone thanked his fiancé Jason before acknowledging the longstanding contributions of “assemblyman Dick Gottfried — my idol and my hero”. Gottfried, who is retiring after 52 years, is the longest-serving legislator in New York State history. “He was there, at the beginning before so many other progressives were there on issues so important to us — whether it was fighting for marriage equality, decriminalizing drugs, and so many other progressive problems,” said Simone of the elder statesman.
Speaking of his own campaign, Simone was blunt. “I didn’t run for the fancy title,” he said. “I decided to run during the pandemic when I found out Dick was retiring. We need to learn from the current crisis — we need a more livable, healthier, equitable and safer city for every New Yorker and we need to recreate New York for everyone, not just the well-to-do.”
The primary victory for Simone was applauded by his team and many of the elected officials who had endorsed him — including Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, former Council Member and Senator Tom Duane and Council Member Erik Bottcher. At 11:30pm on Tuesday evening, Simone had 37.9% of the vote, Law-Gisiko 27.5%, Harrison Marks 18.8% and Chris LeBron 13.5%.
Law-Gisiko told W42ST late on Tuesday evening: “As the results come in, I want to take a moment to thank my hardworking team, all our volunteers, and every New Yorker who cast their ballot in this election. I’ve spent nearly two decades fighting for stronger schools, more affordable housing, an end to luxury overdevelopment, and a better quality of life for our community, and that work will not stop tonight.”
She added: “From the day we launched, this campaign has always been focused on winning a seat at the table for our community and standing up to powerful interests who put profit over people. Regardless of the outcome tonight, we must come together as Democrats to continue to demand accountability and transparency, and ensure West Side families have a progressive advocate fighting for us in Albany who will demand better transit and affordable housing, not luxury development. I look forward to working with Tony for a better West Side.”
A battle over progressive values was evident across the city after Tuesday’s primary, where incumbent Governor Kathy Hochul was challenged by left-leaning public advocate Jumaane D. Williams and centrist Thomas R Suozzi. Hochul’s establishment endorsements paid off — as she (and running mate Antonio Delgado) easily defeated their opponents with nearly 70 percent of the vote at the end of the evening. Hochul will be challenged in November, however, by Republican candidate and current House Representative Lee Zeldin of Long Island, who has gained notoriety for his fervent defense of former President Donald Trump after the January 6 insurrection.
Back at the Chelsea Bell, Simone reflected on the future of New York’s democratic landscape, saying: “My grandfather taught me the importance of never thinking you’re better than anybody else and the importance of public service, and giving back to your community.”
He added, “And my grandfather — who was a union delegate — also taught me the most important lesson ever — that you do nothing in life alone. That only through broad, diverse coalitions in collective action do you come up with creative solutions to the most complex problems.”