Despite the many controversies that threatened to blacken her campaign, Julia Salazar, the Jewish Latina Democratic candidate running for state senate in New York took home a big victory last night. After running on a campaign filled with contradictions and conflicts surrounding her self-identity, the 27-year-old democratic socialist beat out Sen. Martin Dilan for the 18th District Democratic nomination.
During the final weeks of her campaign against Dilan, Salazar’s run was plagued sith a stream of news coverage that highlighted a series of misleading comments she’d made about her background.
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Tonight’s victory is not about me. Tonight’s victory is about thousands of New Yorkers coming together and choosing to fight against rising rents and homelessness in our communities. Tonight’s victory is about the strength of our shared vision of democratic socialism. Tonight’s victory is about the hope we have of creating a New York for the many. Thank you to everyone who phone banked, canvassed, donated, and volunteered for this campaign. It means more than words can express. This victory does not belong to me. It belongs to us, and to the world we’re trying to create.
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In the first run of her campaign media outlets and social media users enthusiastically drew comparisons to the Latina Democratic Socialist and that of congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who arrested voters with hard-left policies and ultimately unseated incumbent Democrat Joe Crowley in the New York Primary. Salazar’s run quickly magnetized into a national story, but it didn’t take long for outlets to unleaf story after story about issues involving a lawsuit and an arrest or for family and friends to call into question the Jewish-Latinx identity she had made part of a brand.
Still, despite the scrutiny that surrounded her campaign 57% of voters revealed Thursday that they preferred her policies to Sen. Dilan whose financial support from real estate developers and landlords prompted critics to accuse him of corruption and scandal.
In a statement to the Huffington Post about Salazar’s victory, Susan Kang, a leader of the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, said “Julia Salazar’s victory is a testament to how much her policy platform resonated with the people of North Brooklyn, some of the fastest gentrifying communities in New York City… Her bold platform of fighting for tenants’ rights, immigrants and transit riders matters more than this expensive smear campaign against her, and that shows how important the issues really are.”
Addressing the big victory for her campaign, Salazar wrote in a statement to her Instagram page that her big “victory is about thousands of New Yorkers coming together and choosing to fight against rising rents and homelessness in our communities.”