WILLIAMSBURG — US Rep. Nydia Velazquez easily fended off her Democratic primary challengers Tuesday, paving the way for an 11th term in Congress.
With 97 percent of the districts reporting, Velazquez had a commanding lead with 58 percent of the vote, compared to City Councilman Erik Martin Dilan's 31 percent. The other two challengers, Dan O'Connor and George Martinez, received just 8 and 3 percent of the vote respectively.
"It's a victory that belongs to the people," Velazquez said in her victory speech at the East River Bar in Williamsburg Tuesday night. "The constituents and the voters sent a clear message that they are the ones who decide who represents their communities."
Dilan, who is being term-limited out of the City Council, was believed to be Velazquez' most threatening primary challenger in years.
While Velazquez received endorsements from a host of high-profile Democratic politicians including President Barack Obama, Dilan was backed by Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez and has deep ties to the district's Orthodox Jewish community, which some pundits predicted would give Dilan a boost.
The 7th Congressional District covers parts of Brooklyn, Queens and the Lower East Side.