HARLEM — Democrat Brian Benjamin overwhelmingly won a special election to fill Bill Perkins' former state Senate seat Tuesday, according to preliminary numbers from the city Board of Elections.
With 98 percent of the uncertified vote counted, Benjamin, an affordable housing developer and chair of Manhattan Community Board 10, won 91.6 percent of the vote over Republican candidate Dawn Simmons and Reform Party candidate Ruben D. Vargas, who got 2.7 percent and 2 percent of the vote, respectively.
Benjamin will serve the 30th Senate District, which covers Harlem and parts of Morningside Heights, the Upper West Side and Washington Heights. The seat was previously held by Bill Perkins, who vacated the seat earlier this year after winning a special election to represent Harlem in the City Council.
Benjamin declared victory in Harlem Tuesday night at Londel's, at 2620 Frederick Douglass Blvd. near 140th Street, saying he was "honored" to represent the community in Albany.
"Our community has a long history of trailblazing public officials, from the Upper West Side to Harlem and El Barrio," he said in a statement. "I'm proud to join the ranks of so many tireless men and women and follow their lead in fighting for our families."
Bejamin pledged to protect the "progressive values" that are "under attack" from President Donald Trump, such as criminal justice reform, immigrants' rights and women's reproductive rights.
"I will go to Albany and work as a proud Democrat, fighting for our families. I will ensure that the culture, character and integrity of our neighborhoods are protected," he said.