THE BRONX — Diana Ayala, the staffer for Melissa Mark-Viverito who was the Council speaker's choice to succeed her, has declared victory over challenger Robert Rodriguez in the Democratic primary, despite leading by a mere 122 votes with more still to be counted.
In the four-way race, Ayala won with 43.64 percent of the votes, while Assemblyman Rodriguez had 42.20 percent, according to unofficial results from the Board of Elections, with 97.62 percent of election scanners reported.
The Board will count absentee and provisional ballots a week after the election, according to spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez.
Ayala claimed victory shortly before midnight, sending out a statement saying she and her team "believe we have triumphed."
"However, I truly believe that it is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that each and every vote is counted and every individual's voice is heard," she added. "I look forward to protecting the right of all individuals to vote and promise to serve as a vanguard in protection of our democratic process."
Rodriguez, a favorite of the Bronx Democratic County Committee, sent out a statement shortly after midnight calling the race "far too close to call," adding that "it is premature for anyone to declare a victory. There are still ballots left to be counted, and we want to make sure each voter has their voice heard."
District 8 includes East Harlem, Mott Haven, High Bridge, Concourse, Port Morris and Longwood.
Despite Rodriguez's support in The Bronx — though not from all elected officials there — Ayala has so far gotten more votes in the borough, with 1,752 compared to his 944. The assemblyman, however, had more Manhattan votes, with 2,639 to Ayala's 1,953.
The winner of the race will face off against Republican candidate Daby Carreras in the November's general election.