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De Blasio sets March 23 as date for Bronx’s 11th, 15th special election

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Moses Kuwema 

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday set March 23, as the date for the special election in New York City Council’s 15th and 11th Districts.

The special election was necessitated by 11th district council member Andrew Cohen's nomination to the Bronx Supreme Court as a judge and the election of Ritchie Torres, formerly district 15th council member, to the US's 15th Congressional District. 

“I am declaring Tuesday, March 23, 2021, as the date for the 15th and 11th City Council Districts special elections to elect a Council Member to serve until December 31, 2021. This date, within the window allowed by the City Charter, will give residents the chance to make thoughtful and informed decisions about their representation," Mayor de Blasio said. 

"Eligible Bronx voters can participate with early voting, in-person voting, or by returning an absentee ballot, and I encourage everyone to make their voices heard in these special elections.” 

City Council District 11, which Cohen has represented since 2014, covers the northwest corner of the Bronx, including the neighborhoods of Bedford Park, Kingsbridge, Riverdale, Norwood, Van Cortlandt Village, Wakefield, and Woodlawn. Riverdale, the traditional political power center of the district, is largely white while the neighborhoods of Kingsbridge and Woodlawn, are home to a majority of people of color.

Among the people that have declared their interest to contest the election in the council's 11th district include district leader and teacher Eric Dinowitz (whose father is State Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz), tech entrepreneur Jessica Haller, former Community Board 8 chair Daniel Padernacht, social worker Abigail Martin, and Marcos Sierra, a district leader and former community board member, and retired NYPD detective Carlton Berkley. 

Council District 15 straddles Fordham Road and encompasses the neighborhoods of Belmont, Fordham, Tremont, Norwood, Parkchester, West Farms, and Williamsbridge, as well as some of the largest greenspaces in the city (the New York Botanical Garden, the Bronx Zoo, and Crotona Park), Fordham University, and Arthur Avenue. 

Four candidates have so far declared their intentions to succeed Torres: Ischia Bravo, district manager for the Bronx’s Community Board 7; Elisa Crespo, an education liaison for Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.; Oswald Feliz, a district leader and housing lawyer; and, Julian Sepúlveda, who works in intergovernmental affairs for the city’s Department of Education.

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