Voters on both sides of Coney Island on Tuesday overwhelmingly voted to re-elect their Democratic city councilmembers and New Yorkers citywide handed Mayor de Blasio a second term in office, according to unofficial general election results.
Councilmember Mark Treyger, a Democrat who represents the part of Coney Island west of W. 12 St., handily defeated Republican challenger Ray Denaro in District 47. When factoring in total votes, Treyger was up 72.44 percent to 27.38 percent and led by more than 5,000 votes — an expected result in an area where Treyger has made his mark with the local community.
In District 48, Councilmember Chaim Deutsch staved off a challenger from the right in Republican Steve Saperstein, who tried his best to woo voters in a district that showed significant support for then-candidate Donald Trump in the 2016 general election. By Tuesday night, Saperstein proved to be no match for Deutsch, who was up by around 4,000 votes with 99 percent of scanners recorded.
Thank you #CD48 for your confidence in me. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve you for another four years.
— Councilman Deutsch (@ChaimDeutsch) November 8, 2017
In citywide elections, Mayor de Blasio easily secured a second term despite a rocky campaign during which he fended off opponents who targeted corruption scandals that have plagued his first term in office. He totaled more than 700,000 votes, while second-place finisher Nicole Malliotakis tallied slightly more than 300,000 votes. And City Council Speaker Tish James, fresh off the passage of her landmark legislation banning prospective employers from asking applicants about previous salaries, dispatched Republican J.C. Polanco in another lopsided race. She held onto a 50-plus-point lead at the end of the night.
In other races, Brooklyn Borough President crushed Republican Vito J. Bruno by more than 60 percentage points and Brooklyn District Attorney Democrat Eric Gonzalez blew out Reform candidate Vincent J. Gentile by a margin of more than 200,000 votes.
What drove voters in City Council races?
Denaro ran on the slogan “Bring Brooklyn Back,” but from what? He struggled to articulate that in a convincing manner, and it showed in the polls. He was on the attack throughout the campaign, slamming his opponent and often trying to tie his candidacy with the unpopular sides of Mayor de Blasio’s candidacy — an apparent effort to gain some ground on a formidable incumbent. Councilmember Treyger, seemingly more confident in his chances at re-election, avoided attacking his opponent or even mentioning his name.
Treyger and Deutsch both spent significant time focusing on seniors in their respective districts to fuel their re-election bids. The candidates especially ramped up their outreach to seniors later in their campaigns, stopping by to greet locals as they played Bingo and often joining them for meals at senior centers. Deutsch touted his own work towards championing legislation that expanded tax relief to senior homeowners and disabled homeowners.
During the final week of the campaign, Treyger and Deutsch teamed up to pen a letter to the city asking for enhanced security on the Riegelmann Boardwalk in light of the recent terrorist attack in Manhattan. Furthermore, both candidates used their social media platforms to highlight their work in improving issues such as street trash and public transportation problems.
However, Deutsch’s campaign veered significantly from Treyger’s in the way that Deutsch repeatedly boasted about his public safety record. Deutsch sent out multiple mailings which so overwhelmingly focused on the fact that he was endorsed by all five police unions that it became difficult to decipher his stances on a number of other issues outside of public safety and, at times, senior issues.
Treyger, meanwhile, was also endorsed by major police unions but was not afraid to stand up to police misconduct. He slammed a pair of NYPD detectives who were charged for allegedly raping and kidnapping an 18-year-old, and in response to the case he proposed legislation that would ban sex between police officers and detainees. The case has gained national attention and will likely continue to be in the public spotlight as the case progresses.
Treyger made it a priority to remind his constituents of his experience as a public school teacher. He appeared at schools, met with educators, and ultimately landed a major endorsement from the United Federation of Teachers. At around the same time, he was endorsed by Transport Workers Union Local 100, and soon after that he welcomed a flood of endorsements from other unions, elected officials, and community leaders.
Meanwhile, Denaro’s endorsements paled in comparison to his opponent. He announced endorsements from the Law Enforcement Officers Security Union; City Council candidates Marvin Jeffcoat and Liam McCabe; State Sen. Martin Golden; and 51st Assembly District Leader Avery Pereira. But it wasn’t nearly enough in a district where the incumbent was already well-established both locally and on a citywide scale.
In District 48, Deutsch was endorsed most notably by former mayor Michael Bloomberg, while Saperstein welcomed the endorsement of Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis, who said he was “ready to take on de Blasio’s allies in City Council.” Among other endorsements, Saperstein landed support from Corrections Officers — likely due to his vociferous defense of Rikers’ Island — but Deutsch already had the backing of all the major police unions.
Then and now
Treyger won his first election in a landslide, while Deutsch had a tighter race. Here’s a comparison of how each incumbent candidate fared in 2013 vs. 2017.
(Results by vote total)
District 47 – City Council (2013)
- Mark Treyger: 9,196 votes
- Andrew Sullivan 3,489 votes
District 47 – City Council (2017)
- Mark Treyger: 8,777 votes
- Ray Denaro: 3,098 votes
District 48 – City Council (2013)
- Chaim Deutsch: 10,169 votes
- David Storobin 7,314 votes
District 48 – City Council (2017)
- Chaim Deutsch: 10,003 votes
- Steve Saperstein: 6,223 votes
Click here for full unofficial results of the 2017 election.