Unofficial Manual Recount Tally Shows Democratic Socialist Beating Incumbent For Harlem Council Seat

Harlem Councilmember Bill Perkins has lost his bid for re-election, losing the primary to democratic socialist Kristin Richardson Jordan, according to unofficial manual recount results.

The manual vote recount tally obtained by Gothamist/WNYC shows Jordan with 9,034 votes over Perkins, who secured 8,920 votes. A manual recount is triggered if the top candidates are separated by a margin of .5% or less. Initial results had Jordan and Perkins separated by a margin of 104 votes, or .4% of the total vote tally after 13 rounds of ranked-choice voting. This slim margin triggered the manual recount. With registered Democrats outnumbering Republicans in New York City, Jordan’s victory in the November general election against GOP candidate Alpheaus Marcus is all but assured.

READ MORE: In Rare Scenario, Ranked-Choice Voting Flipped The Outcome In Two City Council Races

Jordan went on to defeat 12 people vying for the 9th Council District seat covering most of Harlem, and parts of the Upper East Side and Upper West Side. Perkins, who previously served on the Council from 1998 to 2005 before serving two terms in the state senate, had the most first-person votes on primary night. But those gains were erased as the ranked choice rounds progressed, putting him behind Jordan. The city Board of Elections approved a manual recount several weeks after the June primary. BOE workers began the hand count on July 26th and finished on Friday.



Bill Perkins, a Councilmember for the 9th Council District, sits inside the New York City Council chambers in March 2018.
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Bill Perkins, a Councilmember for the 9th Council District, inside the New York City Council chambers in March 2018. John McCarten/NYC Council

Jordan’s campaign centered on a socialist platform that included advocating for deeper affordable housing, redistribution of wealth, education for all and environmental justice. Perkins’ ability to continue serving Harlem was called into question by community advocates and fellow colleagues who noticed a decline in his cognitive health over the last year. Perkins did not return a request for comment.

READ MORE: As Worries Persist Over Harlem Lawmaker’s Health, Elected Leaders Stay Mum

Jordan’s victory now builds upon an even greater democratic female majority to the New York City Council, a first for the legislative body. Those efforts were helped by organizations such as 21 in ’21, which sought to elect 21 women to the Council by this year. Come January, the 51-member City Council will have more than two dozen women.

READ MORE: The Next City Council Set To Be Most Diverse, Progressive, And Hold First-Ever Female Majority

Politically, her win adds to the number of other Council primary winners who identify as democratic socialists. They include Tiffany Caban and Alexa Avilés, who won the 22nd and 38th Council Districts, respectively. But unlike Caban and Avilés, Jordan did not receive an official endorsement from the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. But Jordan did receive a critical endorsement from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during the latter part of the campaign season.

The city Board of Elections is expected to certify the election on August 17th, when members convene for the weekly meeting.

Jordan did not return a request for comment. She has yet to post any mentions of her unofficial victory on social media.

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