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Yuh-Line Niou Wins Primary For Sheldon Silver's Former Assembly Seat

By  Irene Plagianos and Allegra Hobbs | September 13, 2016 10:42pm 

 Supporters cheered after Yuh-Line Niou's victory.
Supporters cheered after Yuh-Line Niou's victory.
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DNAinfo/Allegra Hobbs

LOWER MANHATTAN — Yuh-Line Niou sailed to victory in Tuesday's primary race for the 65th Assembly District, beating out incumbent Alice Cancel by more than 1,000 votes. 

She arrived at her victory party at the Lower East Side's Hotel Chantelle to cheers from her supporters, and ensured those gathered that she would use her platform to champion the needs of all voters and would push for more affordable housing throughout the district.

"We need to provide the services that the gorgeously diverse residents of this district are expecting — reaching out to every neighborhood, every ethnicity, in every language that we can," the 33-year-old former chief of staff for Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim said. 

"This win tonight is a great honor for me, my family who came here as immigrants, and everyone who has fought to break a barrier in an effort to, as our president likes to say, make our union a little more perfect."

Niou secured a landslide victory with 2,742 points, beating runner-up Jenifer Rajkumar, who scored 1,612 votes, followed by Paul Newell and Alice Cancel. 

It was a tough, six-way Democratic primary race for the 65th Assembly District, a seat held for nearly 40 years by disgraced ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

In April, Cancel, a longtime Democratic District leader, won a special election for Silver’s seat, after the once powerful politician was convicted on a host of corruption charges.

But Cancel, who won a close race against Niou in April, had to again face-off with her, along with five other contenders.

In the heavily Democratic district, which spans much of the Lower East Side, Chinatown and Lower Manhattan, Tuesday night's victory will likely lead to a win in November for the seat.

Several supporters of Cancel, who’s lived in Lower Manhattan for 40 years, were in tears as she conceded the race Tuesday night at longtime South Street Seaport restaurant The Paris Café.

“We fought hard,” Cancel said, surrounded by roughly 30 people, some wearing T-shirts emblazoned with her face. “I’ve never given up and I won’t give up…I’m still your district leader.”

She added: “I love all of you and thank you for your support”

Speaking to reporters after talking to the crowd, Cancel said that Yuh-Line Niou “just parachuted herself into the district” to get the seat, while she has been “in the trenches” for 40 years.

“She was the candidate with the most money, and I was not” said Cancel, of why Yuh-Line prevailed. Cancel referred to herself as “the grass roots candidate” and said she may want to run for the office again.