Alcantara wins Democratic Primary for West Side Senate Seat, But Her Alignment with Bipartisan Caucus Concerns Dems

Marisol Alcantara won the Democratic primary for Adriano Espaillat's State Senate seat in northern Manhattan with the support of Espaillat himself. However, her victory may not be celebrated by all of her future Democratic colleagues around the state. Our Grace Rauh explains.

With the backing of the current state senator, Marisol Alcantara is poised to take over Adriano Espaillat's seat in Albany.

The union organizer won the Democratic primary for the Senate district that stretches from Washington Heights all the way down to Hell's Kitchen. Latino turnout was expected to be key in this four-way contest. Alcantara, like the current office holder, is from the Dominican Republic.

"I want to thank everyone who came out in support of my campaign," Alcantara said. "Because of you there will once again be a Latina in the state senate.

Alcantara's primary victory all but assures her a win in November because the district is so heavily Democratic. And that has some Democrats worried.

Alcantara is planning to join the Independent Democratic Caucus in the Senate — the group of breakaway Democrats that has teamed up with Republicans to control the chamber. The caucus leader, Bronx senator Jeff Klein, was a key supporter. Her addition to the conference known as the IDC will make it even tougher for the mainstream Democrats to win control of senate.

"More importantly I think It means the IDC is going to be around a long time," Senator Klein said. "And We should be. It is responsible for getting a lot of very important things done. We are responsible for the $15 an hour minimum wage. We are responsible for paid family leave, the best program in the nation. The largest middle class tax cut in probably a generation. And we've been able to do that by bridging the gap between Democrats and Republicans."

Former City Councilman Robert Jackson finished second in the race. Micah Lasher, the former chief of staff to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and a top aide to former Mayor Bloomberg, came in third. And community activist Luis Tejada ended up in fourth place.

In many ways Alcantara's campaign was a test of Espaillat's political power in the district. By helping his favored successor secure a win he demonstrated his ability to turnout voters in his district, not only for himself. 

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