Farah Louis wins special election for City Council seat

Victory comes despite snub by Jumaane Williams

May 15, 2019 Paula Katinas
Farah Louis won Tuesday's election in the 45th Council District. Eagle file photo by Rob Abruzzese.
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She didn’t get the endorsement of her former boss whose City Council seat she was seeking, but Farah Louis, former deputy chief of staff to Jumaane Williams, won a big victory in the special election for Williams’ council seat on Tuesday.

Louis beat out seven other candidates in the special election in the 45th Council District, a district that includes Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands and parts of Marine Park and Midwood.

“This campaign has shown me the beauty, resiliency & power of this district,” Louis wrote on Twitter after she declared victory Tuesday night. “It is my deepest honor to represent you on the NYC Council.”


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The unofficial Election Night results from the New York City Board of Elections showed that with 99 percent of the voting scanners counted, Louis came out on top with 3,649 votes and 42.70 percent of the total vote.

Louis’ closest rival, Monique Chandler-Waterman, who had received a boost late in the campaign when Williams endorsed her, came in second with 2,631 votes and 29.98 percent of the vote.

Williams’ endorsement of Chandler-Waterman surprised political observers who pointed out that Louis had worked for Williams for six years.

Williams served in the City Council representing the 45th District for 10 years until he won a special election in February to replace Letitia James as New York City public advocate. James was elected New York State attorney general in November 2018.

While the snub from Williams must have stung, Louis garnered endorsements from high-profile figures in Brooklyn politics like Borough President Eric Adams, Brooklyn Democratic County Leader Frank Seddio and Assemblymembers Rodneyse Bichotte, Helene Weinstein and Jaime Williams, and City Councilmembers Chaim Deutsch, Kalman Yeger, Rafael Espinal and Helen Rosenthal. She was also supported by the United Federation of Teachers and other unions.

Another major supporter was Councilmember Justin Brannan, a Democrat who represents Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and parts of Bensonhurst. “Farah is a rock star who knows how to get things done and will fight like hell for her community,” he wrote on Twitter.

On Tuesday night, as Louis’ victory became clear, Brannan congratulated his friend. “Farah!!!!!!! We did it,” he tweeted.

Deutsch and Espinal also tweeted their congratulations to their new colleague.

Because she won a special election to fill out the remainder of Williams’ term in the City Council, Louis is expected to take office within the next few days.

In addition to Louis and Chandler-Waterman, the other candidates running in Tuesday’s special election were: Rickie Tulloch, Anthony Alexis, Victor Jordan, Jovia Radix, Xamayla Rose and Adina Sash.

Here are the vote totals for each of the candidates as reported on the Board of Elections website:

  • Farah Louis: 3,649 votes (42.70 percent)
  • Monique Chandler-Waterman: 2,631 votes (29.98 percent)
  • Jovia Radix, 776 votes (8.84 percent)
  • L. Rickie Tulloch, 575 votes (6.55 percent)
  • Xamayla Rose, 494 votes (5.63 percent)
  • Adina Sash, 418 votes (4.76 percent)
  • Anthony Alexis, 108 votes (1.23 percent)
  • Victor Jordan, 42 votes (0.48 percent).

There were also 13 write-in votes.

The election saw a low turnout as 8,775 voters turned out to the polls. The population of the 45th Council District is 140,433, according to 2010 Census figures.

Louis, a resident of East Flatbush, is a graduate of Long Island University and the New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, according to her campaign website. She is a co-founder of Girls Leading Up, an organization that seeks to empower young girls. She is the vice president of the Haitian American Caucus and a board member of the New York Haitian Leaders Coalition.

Louis is fluent in Creole and French.

Correction (May 16 at 9:50 a.m.): The original version of this report misidentified the graduate school Louis attended. It has been corrected. We regret the error.

Correction (May 16 at 1:00 p.m.): The original version of this report misidentified the nonprofit Louis co-founded. It has been corrected. We regret the error. 

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