SOUTH BRONX — The second of several upcoming elections for a South Bronx City Council seat will happen on Sept. 13, and both candidates say they feel good about their chances for victory.
"I feel great. We're confident," said incumbent District 17 City Council Member Rafael Salamanca. "In the past six months, we've done great work in the community."
Salamanca won a special election against several other candidates in February to fill the 17th District City Council seat that was left vacant after former Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo's surprise resignation at the end of 2015, and he is now up for election again just a few months after his victory.
Although the initial special election to replace Carmen-Arroyo attracted more than 10 candidates, Salamanca will face just one opponent in the Sept. 13 Democratic primary: retired union leader Helen Foreman-Hines.
Foreman-Hines attempted to run in the previous election for Carmen-Arroyo's seat as well, but she did not make it onto the ballot because she had filed her paperwork late.
However, she said she is still confident about her chances this time around.
"I’ve been out there knocking doors, just hanging out with the people, which is more important than anything," she said.
The winner of the Sept. 13 primary will go on to compete in the November general election, where The Bronx's reputation as a Democratic stronghold virtually assures them of victory. They will then have to run again in an election in 2017, which would have been the end of Arroyo's term if she had not resigned.
However, Salamanca said he was fine with the extraordinarily lengthy campaign season.
"I don’t mind it because I’m really in the street talking to people, talking to constituents, really getting to know what my issues are outside of my base," he said, "and I think it's a great experience."