After 6 Weeks, Victors Are Declared in 2 N.Y. Congressional Primaries

After six weeks of delays, the New York City Board of Elections confirmed results in a pair of congressional races on Tuesday evening, delivering victories to a longtime Democratic incumbent and a young city lawmaker who could be a trailblazer for gay and African-American rights.

In the South Bronx, Ritchie Torres, a 32-year-old New York City councilman, won a 12-way Democratic primary for a soon-to-be open House seat, continuing a dramatic remaking of the New York congressional delegation.

Just to the south, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney narrowly brushed back a primary challenge from Suraj Patel. The longtime incumbent just managed to sidestep a wave of youthful progressivism that has tilted New York’s congressional delegation to the left.

The extensive delays in declaring winners had stirred significant concerns about the problems facing officials trying to conduct elections during the coronavirus outbreak. New York City’s handling of the primary has been cited to raise questions about whether the nation is ready for the general election in November.

The primary was held on June 23, though the outbreak had caused a huge expansion in the use of vote-by-mail, which led to a torrent of absentee ballots sent to the Board of Elections in New York City.

The outbreak has prompted states across the nation to consider expanding mail-in voting for the general election in November, as public health officials worry that convening at polling locations may spread the disease. In New York City, officials were left counting more than 400,000 absentee ballots, more than 10 times the usual number in a primary.

The resulting backlog drew the derision of President Trump, who used the long delays as a reason to cast aspersions on voting-by mail systems nationwide. It also led to bickering between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and other officials.

Although city elections officials certified the results, they did not release updated vote totals; The Associated Press, which typically declares election results, has not done so in either race.

Mr. Torres, who identifies as Afro-Latino, would likely be one of the first two openly gay Black or Latino members of Congress; the other is Mondaire Jones, a 33-year old lawyer who defeated another crowded field seeking to fill the seat in the Hudson Valley being vacated by Nita Lowey, the first woman to chair the House Appropriations Committee.

Both Ms. Maloney’s seat in the 12th Congressional District, which includes parts of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, and the 15th Congressional District in the Bronx, where Mr. Torres won his primary, are solidly Democratic, making both candidates overwhelming favorites to win in November.


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