1 of 4 DSAers Win NYC Primary Elections

One out of three member of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) won in last night’s primary.

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The most impressive result was Khader el-Yateem’s strong second-place finish with 31.3% of the vote (2,876 votes) in the 43rd district New York City council race. As a Palestinian pastor and democratic socialist, he got a ton of positive press coverage and ran a vigorous grassroots campaign.

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Marc Fliedner running for Brooklyn district attorney did not fare as well as el-Yateem. He barely came in third and reportedly struggled to connect with Black voters, a must for any successful candidate running in a Democratic primary there. Fliedner resigned from his position as a prosectuor in the district attorney’s office after his boss decided to give NYPD officer Peter Ling zero jail time after Ling was convicted of manslaughter for shooting Akai Gurley in a housing project in 2014, earning him the endorsement of Gurley’s family. Sadly this did not translate into nearly enough votes.

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Patrick Bobilin was trounced by incumbent Ben Kallos city council district 5 by a 65-point margin. Bobilin was outperformed by the other progressive insurgent candidate, Gwen Goodwin, who was active in Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign and before that spent decades as a community organizing fighting real estate developers and other special interests. Combined the vote for progressive candidates was a respectable 26% but unfortunately it was split between two candidates.

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The one bright spot for DSA in yesterday’s primary is Jabari Brisport who won in 35th city council district, crushing his opponent with a whopping 88.6% of the vote. The only problem is that Brisport was running in the Green Party rather than Democratic Party primary and got all of 31 votes to his opponent’s 4 votes.

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Brisport advances to the general election to face Laurie Cumbo who won the Democratic Party primary in the district with 10,116 votes or 57.5% of the selectorate.

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In 2014, Cumbo won the general election with roughly 26,000 votes out of 30,000 cast.

Jabari has unfortunately set himself up for catastrophic defeat in the 2017 general election by running as a Green in a district where they can only get 35 of their registered voters to turn out in a primary and had no candidate in the previous general election. How getting destroyed in a general election advances the cause of democratic socialism or the broader progressive agenda is anyone’s guess.

Khader el-Yateem’s strong showing by contrast established that there is a base of voters open to socialism in the 43rd district, that he is a credible and serious candidate, and DSA’s 2017 effort there could pave the way for future progressive wins.

NOTE: Originally this was published with only 3 out of 4 DSA candidates listed. Apologies for the oversight.

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