Caribbean American Legislators Victorious in US Elections

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From left to right: Yvette Clarke, Jaime R. Williams and Roxanne Persaud.

By Nelson A. King

NEW YORK, Nov 4, CMC – Even as a clear winner is yet to be determined between Republican President Donald J. Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the United states presidential electios, the overwhelming number of Caribbean Americans legislators in New York have been declared victorious in the November 3 poll.

According to the unofficial results from New York State Board of Elections, Caribbean American Democratic Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants won re-election by a landslide.

Clarke, who represents the predominantly Caribbean 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, defeated her Haitian American Republican closest challenger, Constantin Jean-Pierre, by 63 percentage points.

Clarke received 170,898 votes, or 81 per cent, to Jean-Pierre’s 36,847 votes, or 18 per cent. There were two other candidates in the race.

Prior to Tuesday’s vote, Clarke had urged voters to “stand with me in our fight to defeat Trump.”

“My Republican opponent this November is a Trump loyalist; and, you can guarantee that if we don’t hold our House (of Representatives) majority and defeat Trump, he will roll over and do whatever Trump says,” she told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

In other races involving Caribbean American Democratic legislators, new comer Phara Souffrant Forrest, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, trounced long-standing African American Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley, III in the 57th Assembly District.

Souffrant Forrest, a 31-year-old registered nurse, who is married to Jamaican Charles Forrest, beat Mosely, who contested the general elections on the minority Working Families Party (WFP) ticket, by 45.89 per cent.

Souffrant Forrest received 31,857 votes, or 70 per cent, to Mosely’s 10,973 votes, or 24.11 per cent.

There were 2,426 ballots tabulated as blank, 172 as void and 79 as write-in.

Souffrant Forrest had shocked the New York political world in the Democratic Primary Elections in June, when she beat Mosely by 10 percentage points.

“That was not a fluke; that was not a mistake,” she told CMC.

In the 43rd Assembly District in Brooklyn, which comprises the Crown Heights neighbourhood, New York State Assemblywoman Diana Richardson, the daughter of St. Martin and Aruban immigrants, beat her Republican challenger Menachem M. Raitport by a massive 73.43 percentage point.

Richardson received 31,860 votes, or 84.64 per cent, to Raitport’s 4,218 votes, or 11.21 per cent.

In the 11th District of the New York Assembly, which includes portions of the town of Babylon in Suffolk County in Long Island, a New York City suburb, Haitian American Democratic Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre beat Republican Eugene M. Murray by 9.39 percentage points.

Jean-Pierre, who was first elected in 2014, received 22,307 votes, or 50.36 per cent, to Murray’s 18,149 votes, or 40.98 per cent. The other ballots were either blank, void or write-in.

Another Haitian American Democratic New York State Assemblywoman, Michaelle C. Solages, who represents the 22nd District, which includes portions of the town of Hempstead in Nassau County in Long Island, defeated her Republican challenger Nicholas M. Zacchea.

Solages, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, received 32,432 votes, or 57.95 per cent, to Zacchea’s 15,935 votes, or 28.47 per cent.

In other races, Caribbean American legislators were re-elected unopposed.

They included veteran New York State Assemblyman Jamaican N. Nick Perry, who represents the 58th Assembly District in Brooklyn; Haitian American Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn; and Jamaican-born New York State Senator Leroy G. Comrie, Jr., who represents the 14th Senate District in Queens, New York.

Other Caribbean American legislators re-elected unopposed were: Trinidadian Assemblywoman Jaime R. Williams, who represents the 59th Assembly District in Brooklyn, Haitian American Assemblyman Clyde Vanel, who represents the 33rd Assembly District in Queens and Guyanese-born New York State Senator Roxanne Persaud, who represents the 19th Senatorial District.

But the lone Caribbean American loser in the general elections in New York was Democratic Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, who was defeated by Republican Mark in the 46th Assembly District in Brooklyn.

Frontus, who was first elected to the 46th District in 2018, received 15,030 votes, or 42.96 per cent, to Szuszkiewicz’s 17,852 votes, or 51.02 per cent.

The Democratic Caribbean American legislators and the Caribbean community here now turn their full attention to the outcome of the US presidential elections, hoping, for the most part, that Biden will eventually emerge triumphant in the race that has been declared too close to call, with a significant number of ballots yet to be counted.

Biden’s vice-presidential running mate is US Senator Caribbean American Kamala Harris, of California, the daughter of a Jamaican father and Indian mother.

“In our lifetimes, we have heard before, ‘this is the most important election ever’, but never has this been truer than this 2020 election,” Perry told CMC.

“I firmly believe that four more years of Trump in the White House will see the destruction of America’s democracy, as we know it, and as the founding fathers tried to create. After only four years, one would have to be totally blind to not see and hear the awful noise of the breaks and cracks of our Democratic system of government that no one imagined could have occurred.

“The stakes are too high, and it is truly a matter of life and death for our democracy,” Perry said.

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