3:23 pm Jun. 27, 20121
No one really expected Representative Nydia Velazquez to lose last night, in her first real primary challenge since being elected to Congress in 1992.
The real question was how well Councilman Erik Dilan would perform, and how that might reflect on the influence of his chief backer, Brooklyn's county chairman Vito Lopez.
The answer is: not particularly well. Dilan won just 31 percent of the vote, to 58 percent for Velazquez (with a couple of other challengers picking up the rest).
Dilan's poor showing could throw a wrench into the Lopez's reported plan to challenge Velazquez over the course of two cycles. The first was supposed to weaken Velazquez and put her on the ropes for an even tougher fight in 2014.
“If he doesn't win ... he's fully prepared to run again,” an "insider" told Crain's in April. “If Dilan gets anything over 35%, Nydia's not going to sleep for the next two years.”
But, of course, Dilan didn't even muster that, and Velazquez will probably be sleeping perfectly well after her 27-point victory last night.
According to some early reports coming out of the district, Velazquez might have even beaten Dilan in parts of Lopez's power base in Bushwick, and she ran relatively close in the Orthodox areas of Williamsburg, where she reportedly won about 40 percent of the vote.
Lopez could count at least one victory on the night, in the form of Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who forced Lopez's longtime enemy, Ed Towns, into retirement, before beating another outspoken Lopez opponent, Charles Barron, in the primary.
And it's unlikely Dilan's loss will discourage the combative county leader, who is wont to pick fights—even unwinnable ones—against his opponents.
He is once again backing a challenger to district leader Jo Anne Simon, even after Simon trounced a Lopez-backed candidate in 2010. And he's hoping to exterminate Lincoln Restler, an outspoken critic of the county machine, from his post as a district leader in North Brooklyn.