Vito vetoed! Reynoso beats Lopez by wide margin in Democratic primary

The Brooklyn Paper
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Former state assemblyman and Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez lost his council bid to challenger Antonio Reynoso at Tuesday’s primary.

Lopez had sought to bounce back from the sexual harassment scandal that knocked him out of office last fall, but he lost the 34th District council race by 12 percent and 1,300 votes to 30-year-old Reynoso, outgoing district Councilwoman Diana Reyna’s former chief of staff. On Tuesday night, a jubilant Reynoso called his win in the district, spanning Williamsburg, Bushwick, and a section of Queens, a blow to the “political machine” and said that he will not compromise his community organizer roots to serve special interests.

“I will fight for a better Brooklyn and Queens,” Reynoso told the election party crowd at the Woods, a bar on S. Fourth Street in Williamsburg, moments after his victory was announced. “I will never forget where I came from.”

Lopez set his sights on the council seat this spring after a state ethics panel stripped him of his Albany seniority based on their finding that he groped, tried to kiss, and talked sex with young female interns. Lopez spent most of election season out of sight, appearing only once, at a fund-raiser. An anonymous piece of campaign literature defending Lopez, tweeted by Councilman Brad Lander (D–Carroll Gardens) on primary day, quotes an unnamed human rights lawyer saying that 95 percent of sexual harassment cases are “unfounded” and brought by “disgruntled employees who are only looking for a cash settlement.”

The harassment scandal turned Lopez from a 14-term incumbent and Brooklyn kingmaker to a political pariah in a matter of weeks, with even his closest allies distancing themselves from him in the fall of 2012, though he did not resign until May of 2013.

A piece of Reynoso campaign lit said simply, “Vote No on Vito.”

Reynoso began his political career at Le Moyne College, where he founded the black political group Brothers on a New Direction. He became Reyna’s chief of staff after returning to Williamsburg and, while campaigning to replace his term-limited boss, he focused his outreach on young, Latino people.

Outside the bar, Reynoso supporters said that he was the obvious choice for councilman.

“He is a man of the people,” Richard Blanco said.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:14 pm, July 9, 2018: Story has been updated to include the name of the bar where Reynoso's victory party was held.
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Reasonable discourse

Jim from Cobble Hill says:
New York deserves better people than Vito Lopez, and now we finally have some!
Sept. 11, 2013, 9:08 am
ty from pps says:
"14-term incumbent" -- Even if he were awesome, there is NO excuse for someone staying in office for 14 terms!!
Sept. 11, 2013, 9:17 am
Juan from Gowanus says:
"Outside the crowded bar, Reynoso supporters said that he was the obvious choice for councilman."

Uh what bar?
Sept. 11, 2013, 10:04 am
Bay Ridger from Bay Ridge says:
Every dog has its day.
Sept. 11, 2013, 10:11 am
Ethan from Park Slope says:
This is a powerful event. The 34th is a real hot seat, it has almost nationwide resonance. Reynoso will represent a generous swath of America's hipsters, for example. He's also in the fastest gentrifying neighborhood in America. And, Reynoso is endorsed by the giant-killer of North Brooklyn, Lincoln Restler. These are very interesting developments:
Sept. 11, 2013, 11:52 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
Wait, does that mean that Brad Lander tweeted in support of Vito, or that he meant it ironically? I care about the answer, because I have thus far generally thought Brad Lander opposed Vito and his behavior. It would seriously degrade my opinion of Lander if I thought he was backing Vito.
Sept. 11, 2013, 3:12 pm
sammy from greenpoint says:
hi scott - brad was quoting from a mail piece that vito had sent out. he was a very strong supporter of antonio reynoso and brought teams of volunteers to north brooklyn on multiple occasions to send vito packing.
Sept. 11, 2013, 8:26 pm
Eradicator from greenpoint says:
Giant Killer Lincoln Restler??? LMAO. Couldnt even win his election.
Sept. 12, 2013, 9:50 am
Ethan from Park Slope says:
Lincoln Restler put the District Leader position on the map. It's the kind of position that would have been decided by a room full of cronies on the old days. Thanks to Restler, this rusty gear in the machine is working again. Of course, Vito played catch-up and took out Restler in the next DC election with a hand-picked candidate and the blessings of the Rabbi. But Restler lost by about a hundred votes, so give me a break. If he's not a giant-killer, Restler is definitely a bull in a china shop.
Sept. 12, 2013, 12:08 pm
Old time brooklyn from Slope says:
No reason for anyone to serve 144 terms? Try competence and support. Terlimuts are rediculous.
Sept. 12, 2013, 6:31 pm
Eradicator says:
Restler put the district on the map? I thought it was the hipsters/artists as you have stated on other blogs in here? Development has put the district on the map - plain and simple. Restler and Pierson are ivy league hipster wannabees that havent won jack squat.
Sept. 13, 2013, 8:40 am
George from Williamsburg says:
I don't understand how Vito Lopez stayed in office for such a long time. I know for a fact that our community never really liked him. 14 terms is 12 terms too many (I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt for the other 2). Now let's not allow this to happen again. I know Antonio Reynoso and I know how real he is. Let's just hope that the office itself doesn't get to his head, and that my friend stays real for the duration of his term. I don't think Antonio is aiming at 14 consecutive terms in this particular office. I believe this is the beginning of a strong political career for him. That is, if he does the right thing in this office. Good going kid!!!
Sept. 18, 2013, 8:31 pm

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