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Disgraced Vito Lopez loses bid to engineer political comeback

Antonio Reynoso greets a voter during the election Tuesday. He won the race for Council District 34 against Vito Lopez. Photo courtesy Antonio Reynoso
TimesLedger Newspapers

Former state Assemblyman Vito Lopez failed to convince voters that he was fit for public office again, losing the Democratic primary for the 34th Council District to 30-year-old Antonio Reynoso.

Reynoso received 49.3 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from the Associated Press, while Lopez got 37.3 percent. Gladys Santiago drew 7.9 percent of the vote, while Humberto Soto attracted 5.5 percent.

The 34th Council District encompasses part of Ridgewood, along with the Bushwick and Williamsburg neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

In May, Lopez stepped down from his position as a Brooklyn assemblyman amid allegations that he sexually harassed some of his female employees. The septuagenarian had served in the role since 1986.

In a statement issued after the victory, Reynoso, who was born and raised in the community, said he was thrilled by the results.

“We waged a strong campaign on the ground and that made all the difference,” he said.

He said he will continue to work on issues like affordable housing, education and job creation.

“In the City Council, I plan to build on my record and deliver the honest, ethical and progressive leadership that our community deserves,” he said.

Reynoso worked as a community organizer after graduating from college. He has been chief of staff for the outgoing councilwoman in the district, Diana Reyna, since 2009. Reyna will leave office because she has expired her term limits.

Lopez spent much of his political career advocating for affordable housing and housing rights. In 2010, he sponsored an expansion of the city’s loft law, which gave rights to tenants of apartments inside illegally converted warehouses and factories.

He also served as the chairman of the Kings County Democratic Committee from 2005-12.

In Council District 32, which represents Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Woodhaven and the Rockaways, Lew Simon emerged victorious in the Democratic primary. He captured 65.1 percent of the vote and his opponent, William Ruiz, received 34.9 percent.

Simon is a teacher and founder of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club. He currently serves as the district leader of the 23rd Assembly District. He has previously listed the recovery of the Rockaways as his most important issue.

Simon will face off against the incumbent, Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), in the general election Nov. 5.

Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by email at bfortis@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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