Harris by a mile: Coney, Ridge elect first black assemblywoman

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The Coney candidate surfed to victory.

Coney Island Democrat Pamela Harris trounced Bay Ridge Republican Lucretia Regina-Potter in a special election to fill the vacant 46th Assembly district seat on Nov. 3, winning 61 percent of the vote in the district spanning Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and Coney Island.

Harris will be the first black assemblywoman to represent the district, which has a large black population in Coney Island and a predominantly white population in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights. The neighborhoods may be racially divided, but the assemblywoman-elect said she’ll look at things holistically.

“Whether I’m African-American, green, or with purple stripes, winning the district means so much to me, because this is a district that needs a real interest in it,” she said. “We need to make sure this whole district is taken care of, not bits and pieces, so that’s what’s more important to me.”

Harris garnered 4,364 votes to Regina-Potter’s 2,573, according to unofficial election night results from the state.

The former corrections officer also out-raised Regina-Potter, a designer by trade who also serves as Republican committeewoman for the district. Harris raised $35,845 during her campaign — 10 times Regina-Potter’s war chest — with help from Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island), Borough President Adams, state Sen. Diane Savino (D–Bay Ridge), and Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. The health care workers and corrections unions also made significant donations to Harris’s campaign.

Harris and Regina-Potter sparred in two debates in October over mostly big-picture issues such as gun control and the national minimum wage. Following her victory on Tuesday, Harris said her priority is securing funding to continue rebuilding parts of Coney Island destroyed in Hurricane Sandy — a storm that damaged Harris’s own home — and pushing reforms to halt illegal home conversions.

Former Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny abruptly resigned in July to take a job in the private sector, prompting the special election. Harris will serve out the remainder of Brook-Krasny’s term ending in December of next year.

Regina-Potter did not return requests for a comment.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

samir kabir from Downtown Brooklyn says:
I look forward to the day when elected officials are not categorized by their race or sex. Is it really necessary to point out Ms. Harris' ethnicity? One needs only to look at her photo. Good grief!
Nov. 5, 2015, 4:54 am
TOM from Sunset Park says:
What's become of the Bay Ridge/Dyker Heights Republican/Conservative juggernaut?
Nov. 5, 2015, 11:46 am
Square Spoke from Bay Ridge says:
Samir, you are right. Pamela Harris was the superior candidate and it has nothing to do with her race. She has devoted her entire life to public service. Regina-Potter is nothing more than a career candidate who can't get elected because she has no track record. All she did during this campaign was attack Pamela Harris and the voters are tired of those kind of campaigns.
Nov. 5, 2015, 8:09 pm

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