After a campaign that brought out far more posters than voters in Corona, Elmhurst and East Elmhurst, Julissa Ferreras has won election to the City Council seat vacated by her former boss, state Sen. Hiram Monserrate (D−East Elmhurst).
By 10:55 p.m. Tuesday night with 98.8 percent of election districts reporting, Ferreras — Monserrate’s former chief of staff — had 2,216 votes. Community activist Francisco Moya had 1,191 votes, Democratic District Leader George Dixon had 781 and former Queens Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Eduardo Giraldo had 639.
“Without the Working Families Party, I never would have been able to get out my message of uniting our communities,” Ferreras said in a prepared statement released at 9:42 p.m. “This campaign was about fighting for all of us, and I was proud to have the WFP with me every step of the way.”
Moya and Giraldo were not available for comment by press time Tuesday. Dixon had not conceded by 11:10 p.m. in the race to hold the seat until November’s city elections.
Turnout was slim at major polling places like PS 127 in East Elmhurst, regarded by most of the candidates as the largest polling site in the voting district.
“It’s been a very light turnout,” said poll coordinator Grace Lawrence. “More so than usual.”
By 8 p.m., the magic hour before the polls closed, the number of voters had increased slightly, Lawrence said, but noted, “Any way you cut it, it’s still lower.”
Clark Whitsett, an attorney working for Moya, said one location in Elmhurst had recorded only 50 votes 4 1⁄2 hours after the polls opened.
At the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post on 108th Street in Corona Tuesday morning, voters came in one at a time.
Polling coordinator Rocco Argenzio said the turnout reminded him of past primary elections he has overseen.
Corona resident Carmen Diaz, 41, said her mind was made up before the campaigning escalated. She voted for Ferreras.
“We’ve known her for a few years,” she said. “She always works for the community, especially the schools.”
Ferreras partly credited the unions for mobilizing their members Tuesday night, among them East Elmhurst resident V. Shirley.
“I’m in a union, so you know who I voted for,” she said, declining to answer further questions.
East Elmhurst resident Sandra Ramchan, 36, said Francisco Moya won her vote by coming to her house. She supported Moya for his pledge to work for more affordable housing.
“I don’t know much about the other candidates’ details,” she said.
Earlier in the day the candidates seemed resigned to low voter turnout.
“It’s been slow, but what it was expected to be,” Ferreras said.
Moya said the cold weather may have discouraged more casual voters.
“I think the people coming out really know who they are voting for,” he said.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.
©2009 Community News Group
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