NEWS ABOUT CATALINA
The latest news about Catalina’s campaign and our community.
Cruz-ing to victory in 39 Assembly; Challenger defeats party-backed Ari Espinal by healthy 10-point margin
Catalina Cruz and a jam-packed room of her supporters last Thursday night thanked each other for making dreams come true.
Cruz, running as an insurgent for the Democratic nomination in the 39th Assembly District, defeated incumbent and party-endorsed candidate Ari Espinal by an unofficial tally of 53.4 percent to 43.1. Yonel Sosa polled at 3.2 percent.
Cruz, who came to the United States from Colombia as a child, is a former Dreamer who obtained citizenship and became an attorney. She has campaigned on championing immigrants’ rights, among other priorities.
She thanked Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) for first reaching out to her and convincing her of what was possible.
“I first approached her one year ago tonight,” Dromm told the Chronicle with a broad smile, having to shout to be heard over the music and celebration.
“Thank you for watching my back, for believing in me before I believed in myself,” Cruz told the councilman at her victory celebration. “Thank you for pushing me to become the leader this community needs.”
Cruz also thanked volunteers and political activists who took up her cause in defiance of party leadership.
“Thank you for helping when people threatened you, threatened to defund you, threatened to shun you,” she said.
Dromm was joined on the platform by fellow Councilmen Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) and Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and City Comptroller Scott Stringer.
Stringer — “Speaking of people who were threatened for supporting me,” Cruz said — struck two familiar themes in a brief speech.
“Danny Dromm had a dream, and tonight that dream came true,” Stringer told the crowd. “Tonight, you made history.”
Maria Isabel Nieto Jaramillo, the Colombian consul in New York City, was welcomed to the platform amid a display of yellow, blue and red Colombian flags.
Espinal won the seat in a special election in April, filling the vacancy created when Councilman and former Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Corona) was elected to the Council last November.
After potential challengers were kicked off the ballot, Espinal ran alone.
Queens Democratic leaders, including Borough President Melinda Katz, Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) and Councilman Barr