Harris victory bigger than Democrats expected
Candidate showed strength in all parts of district
Fresh off her resounding victory in the special election for the Assembly seat in the 46th Assembly District (AD) Tuesday night, Democrat Pam Harris was busy making plans to set up district offices and hire staff to assist constituents, sources told the Brooklyn Eagle on Wednesday.
Assemblymember-elect Harris is strongly considering opening a district office on Third Avenue and 86th Street, where she had her campaign headquarters, according to one source.
“Pam’s ready to get to work,” the source told the Eagle.
The 46th AD includes parts of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Coney Island.
On Wednesday, Harris and her supporters were basking in the glow of a bigger than expected victory in the race to succeed former Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny, a Democrat who resigned in July to take a high-paying job in the private sector.
It had been expected to be a close race between Harris, a retired correction officer, and Republican businesswoman Lucretia Regina-Potter. But instead, Harris easily defeated Regina-Potter, 63 percent to 37 percent.
Harris earned 4,364 votes to Regina-Potter’s 2,573 votes, according to NY1.
Harris also ran with the support of the Working Families Party. Bill Lipton, the party’s New York state director, issued a statement congratulating Harris on her win.
“We’re thrilled that Pam won. She’s been a dedicated public servant with a deep commitment to her community, and we know she will bring that same tenacity to the State Assembly. The working families of Coney Island, Bay Ridge, and Brighton Beach will have a strong voice in Albany in Pamela Harris,” Lipton said in his statement.
Harris, who lives in Coney Island, did well in all parts of the AD, according to the New York Observer, which reported that she showed strength even outside of her Coney Island stronghold.
Harris will finish out the remainder of Brook-Krasny’s term, which would have ended on Dec. 31, 2016. Brook-Krasny was first elected in 2006 and had won re-election to his fifth term in 2014.
Many pundits predicted a close race between Harris and Regina-Potter, citing the configuration of the district and the fact that the 46th AD is almost evenly split between the Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights portion and the Coney Island end in terms of territory.
Regina-Potter, who has run for public office on numerous occasions, was the better-known name in the Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights section. Harris had never run for public office before.
“Lucretia has name recognition and she has done this before. She is an experienced candidate,” one political observer told the Eagle prior to the election.
Another factor is that Harris’ candidacy took shape amid deep divisions in the Democratic Party in Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights. Harris was chosen by party leaders to run for the Assembly seat over Kate Cucco, Brook-Krasny’s chief of staff, who had wanted to run for the seat. Brook-Krasny had even endorsed Cucco as his successor. Cucco’s supporters were bitter over losing the nomination.
But Harris appeared undaunted by back-room party infighting, and also seemed unperturbed by Regina-Potter’s perceived strength in Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights.
Harris, who is also the founder of Coney Island Generation Gap, a nonprofit organization that provides job training to young people, frequently campaigned in Bay Ridge.
She also had the backing of several elected officials, including U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, state Sen. Diane Savino, Assemblymember William Colton and Councilmember Mark Treyger, all of whom endorsed her.
In other news, Democratic Assemblymember Roxanne Persaud won a landslide victory in the special election in the 19th state Senate District (Canarsie-Crown Heights-East Flatbush).
Persaud earned an impressive 88 percent of the vote. Republican Jeffrey Ferretti trailed far behind with just 9 percent. A third candidate, Elias Weir, had 3 percent.
The seat was formerly held by Democrat John Sampson, who was convicted of lying to the FBI during an investigation into corruption.
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