Race Overview: City Council District 34
In District 34, Antonio Reynoso is victorious with 49% of the vote, with Vito Lopez coming in second at about 37%
City Council District 34 covers Williamsburg, parts of Bushwick, and Ridgewood, Queens. Its current representative, Diana Reyna, is term-limited and cannot run for reelection.
By far the biggest story of this race has been the candidacy of Assemblyman Vito Lopez. Lopez resigned from the Assembly in May, following a sexual harassment scandal leveled against him by female staffers. Lopez is a 30-year political veteran, and this political experience is playing in his favor in the parts of Williamsburg and Bushwick that he has taken credit for helping – with affordable housing and development. Reynoso is seen as a protege of current councilwoman Diana Reyna, serving has her Chief of Staff. He has the support of a large number of unions, political groups, and prominent individuals like Speaker Christine Quinn and Borough President Marty Markowitz, all of whom have expressed disapproval of Lopez at best – and disgust at worst.
Already controversy has stirred in this race. Lopez has distributed campaign literature with heavily doctored photographs of himself with Hillary Clinton, seen by some as a bid to appeal to women. He recently cancelled two public appearances in a row without explanation, avoiding direct communication with the media. Lopez’s campaign qualified for and received $87,780 in public matching funds, which angered women’s rights groups that have been following this race.
On issues, the biggest one thus far discussed has been housing. Lopez has touted his success in bringing 5,000 units of affordable housing into the district, and claims that his broad support comes from satisfied constituents. Reynoso has made housing a major point of his agenda, promising better communication with City agencies, action on landlord negligence, and a bigger focus on rent-stabilized tenant needs. The economic development in the district has been a major facet of Lopez’s campaign, and he has used it as a response to those that attack him.