Caribbean American Congresswoman Clings To Seat On A Squeaker In Tight NYC Primary Election

yvette-clarke
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke of NY’s 9th congressional district, is facing three challengers in today's Primary Elections. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, NEW YORK, Weds. June 27, 2018: The 30-year-old, first time, African-roots candidate, Caribbean-American Congresswoman Yvette Clarke last week smugly dismissed as a “Johnny Come Lately,” gave her the scare of her political life last night as the results emerged from the Democratic Primary in Brooklyn, NY’s 9th congressional district.

Clarke, 53, who went into the election confident of a major victory, with a war chest of over US $600,000 and the backing of dozens of top New York including Mayor Bill de Blasio and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, seem set to win with just over 1,000 votes last night over the son of Ugandan immigrants, Adem Bunkeddeko.

Bunkeddeko, a community organizer, managed to secure 13,729 votes to the incumbent congressmember’s 14,804 with 528 or 532 precincts reporting at midnight, in a low-vote Primary that saw just about 7 percent of the 350,000 registered Democrats in the 9th District showing up to cast a ballot Tuesday.

It was one of the second most watched election results last night, after the stunner in the 14th Congressional district in Queens, that saw a 28-year-old first timer and Caribbean roots candidate beat a senior Democratic Congressman who was shortlisted as the replacement to Nancy Pelosi.

Adem-Bunkeddeko-for-congress
Adem Bunkeddeko gave the congresswoman a political scare.

The tight race came on the heels of a report from News Americas last week that several voters in the 9th congressional district appeared utterly ignorant of the date of the primary election.

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Bunkeddeko, who was endorsed by the New York Times and is  a Harvard Business School graduate who has spent time working for political campaigns, a Bed-Stuy nonprofit, and served on the local community board, has insisted throughout his campaign that the congressmember has done “nothing” but Clarke, in the lone New York 1 debate, said he got the facts wrong.

She pointed to a 2013 bill she helped pass that mistakenly placed many on the do-not-fly list, and amendments passed as part of larger legislation like the Affordable Care Act. She also touted her constituent services.

“That’s what separates me from someone who is recently moved to the community, and has nothing to show for it,” Clarke said last week.

With the narrow win in the Primary, Clarke’s seat, which covers the areas of Crown Heights, Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Brownsville and Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, NY, seems secure for now but she may face a black, Caribbean-roots, Republican challenger in the general election come November.

Jaime Sanders, 28, the son of a Trinidadian Jewish-convert mother, told Kings County Politics recently that he feels it’s important that voters get the chance for an alternative to the status quo.

Sanders graduated high school from Brooklyn College Academy, and college from SUNY Empire State College where he majored in computer science. He is also an entrepreneur having founded his own small business Zion Zaibatsu Corporation while still in college, and most recently, the non-profit Millennial Voice Project to address the concerns of all millennials.

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