Jessica Ramos earned a hard-fought victory in the State Senate primary last night, defeating eight-year incumbent Jose Peralta in a rather close race for the 13th Senatorial District.
The preliminary numbers report that Ramos won 12,181 votes, or 55 percent of the electorate, while Peralta received 10,021 votes, or 45 percent.
“Today, we made history,” said Ramos. “We unseated an entrenched incumbent. And look at what we’ve built.”
Peralta was a member of the now-defunct Independent Democratic Committee (IDC), a breakaway faction of Democrats in the Upper Chamber that had a coalition with with Republicans and helped the GOP maintain control of the chamber.
Even after the IDC disbanded and Peralta rejoined the party, he still faced virulent criticism from his constituents for his lack of loyalty. One of his harshest critics was Ramos herself, who had helped Peralta get elected to State Senate in 2010.
“I believed in Peralta just like everyone else did,” Ramos told the Queens Tribune last month. “When he announced that he was joining the IDC, I was baffled.”
During her campaign, Ramos declared herself a “real Democrat,” sporting a staunchly progressive platform centered around rent reform, renovating public transit and advocacy for workers’ unions. She promised her constituents that she wouldn’t defect to the other side.
“The IDC better be dead,” Ramos said at last night’s victory party. “New Yorkers are pissed. They’re tired of being lied to. They’re tired of government not working for them. They’re sick of it.”
Peralta wasn’t the only candidate who faced backlash for his IDC membership; State Senate incumbents and former IDC members Jesse Hamilton, David Valesky, Tony Avella and Marisol Alcántara were also unseated in this year’s primaries.
During the race, Ramos had the backing of Mayor de Blasio – who called her “a tireless advocate for her community and a progressive champion for working families” – along with several other notable figures in New York politics, including Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Gubernatorial Candidate Cynthia Nixon.
Ramos said that, as a state senator, her first priorities will be rent reform, anti-gentrification policies, and other measures that support working, low-income families in the district.
“Making sure that working families can keep in their home has always been at the heart of our campaign,” said Ramos. “Making sure that working families are active, voting, making their voices heard, and making sure that we can stay here in our communities: fighting gentrification, making sure that the MTA works for working people.”
There is no Republican candidate running in the 13th Senatorial District, meaning that Ramos will take office unopposed. The district includes Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Woodside.