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Margaret Chin Wins Big in Downtown Democratic Council Primary

By Irene Plagianos | September 11, 2013 12:50am
 Councilwoman Margaret Chin won a second term with the Democratic primary results Sept. 10, 2013.
Margaret Chin Wins Primary Election
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LOWER MANHATTAN — After a tough campaign fight, City Councilwoman Margaret Chin won the Democratic primary to keep her Downtown seat Tuesday night, beating challenger Jenifer Rajkumar by 17 points.

“I feel so blessed that I will have the chance to serve the community that I truly love,” Chin said moments after her win, surrounded by a pack of cheering supporters in Chinatown’s Chatham Square Restaurant.

“It was a hard-fought battle. It wasn’t an easy campaign," she added.

Chin won the race handily, with 58.5 percent of the more than 14,000 votes cast, compared with the 41.5 percent that went to Rajkumar.

Chin, a 58-year-old former affordable housing activist, was the first Asian-American to represent Chinatown when she was elected to office four years ago.

Her race with Rajkumar — a 30-year-old, Stanford University-educated civil-rights lawyer without a long political track record — was often heated.

Rajkumar, a Democratic district leader, repeatedly took jabs at Chin over hot-button issues like Chin's contentious approval of development projects such as the NYU expansion, and accused Chin of “being in the pocket of big real estate.”

Chin maintained that her interests were in improving the community, and struck back at Rajkumar for her lack of experience.

On Wednesday evening, several Chin supporters said they felt Rajkumar’s negative campaigning ultimately hurt her — and that Chin's track record shone through.

"I'm so happy she won," said longtime supporter Diane Lapsen, a TriBeCa resident. "I think she's been invaluable to Lower Manhattan, and I'm glad the community recognized that, and didn't listen to negative and wrong accusations."

Rajkumar said she was proud of her campaign, after conceding her loss at her Chinatown headquarters at 18 Pell St.

“I’ll never stop working for the community,” Rajkumar said. “I think we waged a very formidable challenge. I’m very proud — I’ll continue pursuing justice work, whether it's as a lawyer or in the private or public sector.”