July 23, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Brooklyn activist Emily Gallagher has unseated 46-year incumbent Joe Lentol to represent Greenpoint and Williamsburg in a stunning defeat.
Gallagher beat out Lentol, one of the longest-serving members of the State Assembly, with the support of absentee voters in the Democratic primary for the 50th Assembly District.
She trailed Lentol by more 1,700 votes on election night. However, an unprecedented number of absentee ballots pushed Gallagher ahead to win the race.
She tweeted Tuesday that her campaign was ahead by 265 votes — and growing.
The Board of Elections has not yet released any official primary counts. However, Lentol issued a statement Wednesday conceding to Gallagher.
“It’s decided: The voters in the 50th Assembly District voted for change,” he said. “It’s been a great honor to represent the people of North Brooklyn in the Assembly. I’m proud of my years of service, delivering important legislation and always attending to constituents’ needs.”
He wished Gallagher — who is expected to easily win the general election in November — well in her new role in the Assembly.
Gallagher, a member of Brooklyn’s Community Board 1 and the founder of the Greenpoint Sexual Assault Task Force, celebrated her victory Wednesday.
“I can’t believe I am writing this but it’s official: we won,” she wrote on Twitter. “This was a collective and truly grassroots campaign, powered by a deep love for North Brooklyn and a desire to make it better. Thank you so much for believing in me, against all the odds.”
I can’t believe I am writing this but it’s official: we won.
This was a collective and truly grassroots campaign, powered by a deep love for North Brooklyn and a desire to make it better.
Thank you so much for believing in me, against all the odds. pic.twitter.com/zcW8byPeon
— Emily Gallagher for Assembly (@em4assembly) July 22, 2020
Several other New York City incumbents were knocked from their Assembly seats by insurgent candidates in this year’s primary.
In Queens, housing counselor Zohran Mamdani beat incumbent Aravella Simotas to represent the 36th AD; lawyer and CUNY professor Jenifer Rajkumar unseated Michael Miller to represent the 38th AD and progressive activist Jessica González-Rojas took Michael DenDekker’s seat for the 34th AD.