Front-runners for City Council seat get a boost

Chandler-Waterman raises more campaign cash, while Louis wins a key endorsement.

June 21, 2019 Paula Katinas
Monique Chandler-Waterman (left) and Farah Louis (right) are the two frontrunners in the June 25 election. Photos via the candidates' campaigns.
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It’s like déjà vu all over again, as Yogi Berra used to say.

Councilmember Farah Louis won her Central Brooklyn seat in a special election on May 14, but just a few short weeks after being sworn into office she already has to run for re-election.

This time, Louis is running in a Democratic primary on Tuesday, June 25.

Adding to the sense of déjà vu, Louis is facing the same seven candidates in the primary that she beat in the special election last month. She was elected in May to represent the 45th Council District, a seat formerly held by Democrat Jumaane Williams, who won election as New York City Public Advocate earlier in the year.

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The council district includes East Flatbush, Flatbush, Flatlands, Canarsie and parts of Midwood and Marine Park.

As the campaign entered its final days, two intriguing developments dominated the political talk surrounding the council race.

Mayor Bill de Blasio endorsed Louis, giving the freshman lawmaker a major boost as she tries to hold onto the seat.

“Farah Louis is an impressive, hard-working leader in her community. I have witnessed her strength in serving her community and her work in the City Council. I look forward to our partnership in making our city a fairer and safer place to be,” de Blasio said in his endorsement statement.

But Monique Chandler-Waterman, who came in second to Louis in the special election, surprised many political observers with her fundraising prowess.

Chandler-Waterman qualified for the maximum, $142,500, in matching funds in the city’s campaign finance program, according to figures provided by the New York City Campaign Finance Board.

Louis, the only other candidate in the race to qualify for matching funds, received $131,392.

In order to get matching funds, a candidate has to have received campaign contributions from at least 75 people who live in the 45th Council District. The candidate must also have generated at least $5,000 in contributions from residents who live in New York City.

The city’s campaign finance law allows for an 8-1 ratio in matching funds.

Along with Louis and Chandler-Waterman, the other names on the ballot are Anthony Alexis, Victor Jordan, Jovia Radix, Xamayla Rose, Rickie Tulloch and Adina Sash. However, only Louis, Chandler-Waterman and Rose appear to be actively campaigning for the council seat.

Louis earned 42 percent of the vote in the special election. Chandler-Waterman came in second with 30 percent. All of the remaining candidates were in single digits.

Williams’ name hovers over the primary and not just because it’s a race for his old seat.

Both Louis and Chandler-Waterman formerly worked for Williams during his decade-long council tenure; Louis as his deputy chief of staff and Chandler-Waterman as an aide.

Williams endorsed Chandler-Waterman over Louis in the May 14 special election. He is also supporting Chandler-Waterman in the June 25 primary. Chandler-Waterman is the founder and CEO of East Flatbush Village, a nonprofit organization that works to fight against violence.

In addition to de Blasio, Louis also enjoys the support of Borough President Eric Adams and Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, as well as a whole host of her City Council colleagues, including Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Bay Ridge Councilmember Justin Brannan.

Because the 45th Council District leans heavily Democratic, the winner of Tuesday’s primary is likely to cruise to victory in the general election in November.

The special election in May was held to fill the council seat for the remainder of 2019. The general election in November will determine who will fill the seat until 2021.

For more information on Tuesday’s primary, visit the New York City Board of Elections website.

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