Phara Souffrant Forrest declares victory over Walter Mosley in Crown Heights Assembly race

Phara Souffrant Forrest.
Phara Souffrant Forrest for Assembly

Democratic socialist tenant organizer Phara Souffrant Forrest has declared victory over incumbent Walter Mosley in the 57th Assembly District primary election.

After trailing Mosley by 588 votes on election night, the Board of Election’s absentee ballot count put Souffrant Forrest, a union nurse, ahead of the eight-year incumbent by over 2,500 votes, according to her campaign.

“It was a long wait, but today we can finally say that we did it,” Souffrant Forrest said in a statement on July 22. “Together we made history by electing a socialist nurse in the middle of the worst pandemic in 100 years.”

Souffrant Forrest’s primary victory in the heavily Democratic district that spans Crown Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Prospect Heights all but assures she will be headed to Albany in 2021. 

The upstart candidate focused her campaign on tenants rights, and attacked the eight-year incumbent for accepting real estate money. She refused special interest donations throughout her primary campaign, and has stated that she fundamentally does not believe in rent. 

Despite missing out on the endorsement of her own union , Souffrant Forrest was boosted by the Democratic Socialists of America, and received endorsements from heavyweight progressives such as Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, former gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, and New York Communities for Change.

Souffrant Forrest is only one of a handful of socialist insurgents who have knocked incumbent democrats off the ballot in 2020. On July 22, socialist Emily Gallagher declared victory over 47-year incumbent Joe Lentol in Greenpoint’s 50th Assembly District. Last week, tenant organizer Marcela Mitaynes knocked 26-year incumbent Felix Ortiz off the November ballot in the 51st Assembly District that spans Red Hook and Sunset Park, exposing the flaws in the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s business-as-usual campaigning strategies for supporting incumbents.

“Our win is a rejection of politics as usual,” Souffrant Forrest said. “This win shows that our time is now.”

Update 6:50 pm. Wednesday:  In a statement released late Wednesday, Mosley officially conceded to Souffrant Forrest. Mosley highlighted his achievements in the assembly, which include the passage of  stronger rent laws, the SAFE act, and criminal justice reforms such as the raise the age act and bail reform, and wished Souffrant Forrest luck. 

“I am confident that Ms. Souffrant Forrest will continue to be a strong voice for this district in Albany. I congratulate her on her victory, and look forward to working together to continue to improve our community,” he said.