U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan) had little trouble fending off her three challengers in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, garnering slightly less than 58 percent of the vote in the race for the new 7th Congressional District, which includes Woodhaven and parts of Maspeth.
The 10-term congresswoman landed 57.5 percent of the vote, while Councilman Erik Martin Dilan (D-Brooklyn) received 31.8 percent, Manhattan economist Dan O’Connor garnered 8 percent, and Sunset Park district leader George Martinez won 2.6 percent of the ballots.
No Republican has announced a run in November’s general election for the recently redrawn district, which covers a broad area, from parts of South Queens to such neighborhoods as Brooklyn’s hipster-heavy Williamsburg and Manhattan’s Chinatown.
“I’m honored the working families of New York have placed their confidence in me again,” Velazquez said in an email. “Together, we can continue our work to make housing more affordable, strengthen local small businesses and create jobs throughout our city.”
The race was a contentious one, with a number of political insiders wondering if Dilan might be able to oust Velazquez. The congresswoman and the councilman touted numerous endorsements from political bigwigs —including President Obama for Velazquez and state Sen. John Sampson (D-Brooklyn) for Dilan.
Woodhaven and Maspeth have been in the 9th Congressional District, now represented by U.S. Rep. Bob Turner (R-Queens, Brooklyn), but were moved during the redistricting process. Once every 10 years, state legislators redraw the political lines for state Senate, Assembly and Congressional districts.
While some residents have been concerned that the borough will get the political shaft because it constitutes a small portion of the district, Velazquez, who already represented a small slice of Woodhaven in her old district, promised to focus on her Queens neighborhoods.
“We want to work hard with small businesses,” Evelyn Cruz, of Velazquez’s office, said at a recent Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation meeting. “We’ve walked down Jamaica Avenue and seen a lot of ‘For rent’ signs, and owners are saying rent is going up.”
The legislator also said she hopes to further focus on economic development.
“Creating jobs and opportunity for New Yorkers has to be our first priority,” Velazquez said in a previous email to the Queens Chronicle.“That means securing federal resources for economic development and supporting our small businesses.”