Haitian American scores landslide victory

Haitian American scores landslide victory
Photo courtesy Rodneyse Bichotte

After handsomely defeating Jamaican-born economist and accountant Rickie Tullock by 20 percentage points to win the New York State Democratic Primary in the 42nd State Assembly District in Brooklyn in September, Haitian American Rodneyse Bichotte won the general elections on Tuesday night by a landslide.

Bichotte, who created history by becoming the first Haitian American to be elected to the New York State Assembly, captured 90 percent of the votes in a race that comprised Republican Matthew Williams and Conservative Brian Kelly.

With 100 percent of the 73 precincts reporting, Bichotte, who was born and raised in Brooklyn to Haitian immigrants, secured 12,326 votes to Williams’ 807, or 6 percent, and Kelly’s 518, or 4 percent.

“Today, the voters of the 42nd Assembly District have placed their confidence in me to represent them in the New York State Assembly,” Bichotte told jubilant supporters at her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn Tuesday night.

“It is an honor that I accept with great humility and gratitude,” she added. “Our success today at the polls and in the September primary would not be possible without the support and effort of a dedicated team of volunteers, campaign staff, and supporters who came together to make today’s victory possible.

“As a candidate, I promised to put the residents of this district first and deliver increased economic opportunity, affordable housing, and better the quality of education for our children,” she continued. “I am ready to work toward achieving these goals; and, with your continued support, they will become a reality.”

Bichotte gave special thanks to several elected officials for helping her to win the race.

They included: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose wife is of Barbadian and St. Lucian roots; City Comptroller Scott Stringer; Public Advocate Letitia James; Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke; New York State Senator Kevin Parker; Jamaican-born Assemblyman Nick Perry; and Jamaican-born, ex-New York City Councilwoman Dr. Una Clarke.

She also singled out Grenadian American Councilman Jumaane Wiliams, “who supported our campaign through the thick and thin, and believed in the promise of a better tomorrow for the people of this district.”

“Most importantly, I thank all of the voters for believing me,” Bichotte said.

As a candidate and 42nd Assembly District Leader, Bichotte had been an outspoken advocate on issues concerning immigration; unemployment; education reform; health care access; senior citizen centers; affordable housing; women’s rights; and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights.

She has also spoken out on other issues affecting the quality of life in the community that is largely Caribbean.

In the months leading up to the Democratic Primary on Sept. 9, Bichotte’s campaign was able to put together a widespread coalition of elected officials, unions, clergy and non-profits, “who believe that our community is in dire need of leadership in the State Assembly that will put their best interests at heart.”

Tulloch had received the endorsement of the retiring Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, whose 42nd Assembly District comprises, among other Brooklyn neighborhoods, Flatbush, East Flatbush and Midwood.

In other general elections races involving Caribbean candidates, Democratic Congresswoman Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, also won re-election by a massive landslide, beating Conservative challenger David Cavanagh by 80 percentage points.

With 475 of the 478 precincts reporting, or 99 percent, Clarke, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, received 78,157 votes, or 90 percent, to Cavanagh’s 9,149 votes, or 10 percent.

Earlier on Election Day, Clarke told Caribbean Life that she felt “good” about the prospective results.

“I want to drive up as many voters as possible,” she said. “We have such a large Democratic footprint in this community.”

In the 19th Senatorial District in Brooklyn, New York State Democratic Senator John L. Sampson, whose father is Guyanese, also won by a massive landslide.

Sampson – who is under U.S. federal indictment on charges that he embezzled more than US$400,000 from the sale of foreclosed homes and is vigorously fighting the charges – received 28,605 votes, or 86 percent, with all of the 226 precincts reporting.

Conservative Elias Weis received 2,689 votes, or 8 percent, and Working Families Party candidate Dell Smitherman received 1,922 votes, or 6 percent.

In the 21st Senatorial District in Brooklyn, the Grenadian-born publisher of Everybody’s magazine, Herman Hall, was soundly thrashed by the African American Democratic incumbent Kevin Parker.

Hall, running on the Conservative Party line, only garnered 1,725 votes, or 4 percent, to Parker’s 40,130 votes, or 96 percent, with 213 of the 216 precints reporting, or 99 percent.

Democratic Assemblyman Perry, in the 58th Assembly District in Brooklyn, was unopposed in the general elections.

Jamaican American Democrat Leroy Comrie was also unopposed in the 14th State Senate seat in Queens.

Voters in the district in the September Primary had turned against State Senator Malcolm A. Smith, who is accused of bribery in his bid for the 2013 New York City mayoral ballot.

Smith had lost by a landslide to former New York City Councilman Comrie, of Jamaican parentage.

Comrie had received 9,314 votes, or 69.4 percent to Smith’s 2, 530 votes, or 18.9 percent and Munir Avery’s 1,577 votes, or 11.8 percent.