What is this election for?
Why is it happening in the middle of February?
Former 17th District Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo made a surprise announcement in November that she would resign from her seat on the council because of “pressing family needs,” so her seat has been empty since the end of 2015. Arroyo has since taken a job as vice president of administration at the Acacia Network, a housing company. The job pays $220,000, which is about $70,000 more than she would have made on the City Council after their recent pay raise.
Who is running to replace her?
Lots of people. There are currently six candidates on the ballot for her spot, and there used to be even more. The people who should appear on the ballot tomorrow are:
►Rafael Salamanca, district manager of Bronx Community Board 2
►Julio Pabón, a South Bronx activist and businessman who ran against Arroyo in the 2013 election
►Marlon Molina, a board member of Bronx Community Board 3 and founding member of the Bronx Volunteer Coalition
►Joann Otero, Arroyo’s chief of staff while she was on the council
►Rev. J. Loren Russell, a Bronx preacher and businessman
►George Alvarez, a South Bronx businessman and former state assembly candidate
Nos Quedamos held a candidates’ forum with most of the competitors in late January that was co-sponsored by DNAinfo New York, and you can now watch the entire event online at BronxNet.
What happened to the other candidates?
Is there a front-runner?
Salamanca is viewed as the most likely victor. He has the endorsement of the Bronx Democratic Committee along with several other prominent local politicians, including Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
When and where can I vote?
The polls will be open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Feb. 23, and you can look up your polling location on the Board of Elections' website.
How long will the winner hold Arroyo’s old seat?
That depends. The winner is only guaranteed to have the seat until the end of the year, when they are up for reelection. Even after that race, the victor will only hold Arroyo’s seat until the end of her term in 2017, meaning they would have to run again to keep their seat next year. So if the winner of tomorrow’s election decides they like their job enough to keep it, they are likely in for a lot more campaigning going forward.