Carlos Menchaca Beats Incumbent to Take District 38's City Council Seat

By Nikhita Venugopal on September 11, 2013 1:23am | Updated on September 11, 2013 1:24am

RED HOOK — Carlos Menchaca won the Democratic nomination for the District 38 City Council seat Tuesday, beating out Sara Gonzalez, who has held the office for more than a decade.

With 57.6 percent of the votes, Menchaca declared victory Tuesday night, surrounded by supporters and well-wishers at St. Jacobi Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sunset Park.

Gonzalez, the district’s incumbent who was first elected in 2002, garnered only 42.4 percent of votes in the district that includes Red Hook, Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace, Greenwood Heights and Bay Ridge Towers.

With no Republican candidate for the seat, Menchaca is assured victory in the November general election.

Menchaca, an openly gay candidate and former community liaison for Speaker Christine Quinn, received endorsements from local officials including Councilman Brad Lander and Rep. Nydia Velazquez as well as the New York Times and the New York State Nurses Association.

As Menchaca entered the Sunset Park celebrations, close to 10:30 p.m., several supporters began to cheer and chant “Carlos! Carlos!” as the councilman-elect pumped his fist in the air.

He thanked a united community “that brought together so many different ideas and so many different passions.”

Kerry Quade, a longtime Red Hook resident, said she first met Menchaca soon after Hurricane Sandy.

Menchaca worked with the Office of Emergency Management after the storm, particularly in Red Hook’s on-the-ground recovery efforts.

“The community really urged him to take his step,” said Quade, adding that Menchaca will be an “upbeat change” to the neighborhood.

He is visible, present and makes an effort to listen to people, she said.

“He makes a connection.”

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