Lew Simon can call himself a winner. The longtime Democratic District Leader and community organizer rolled to victory in a City Council race on Primary Night beating William Diaz of Ozone Park 65 percent to 35 percent. “It’s the first real election I’ve won in 16 years,” Simon told The Wave.
Simon will now face incumbent Eric Ulrich who ran unopposed in the Republican Primary. The two will battle it out until Election Day on November 5th for the right to represent Council District 32.
Simon says he decided to run because of Hurricane Sandy. “I love Rockaway with all my heart. When I saw the devastation and the people, my heart broke. I knew I had to do all I could to help. I lost everything in the storm but I never lost my love for Rockaway. And I thought we could have had more leadership after the storm. City Hall and Bloomberg were not hearing us. If I was ever going to run, now would have to be the time.”
Simon has proven strength in Rockaway, winning Belle Harbor by a whopping 835 to 95 margin. Overall, Simon got 3,845 votes while Diaz garnered 2,064. The General Election, however, will require making inroads on the mainland where he is less well known. Simon acknowledges the challenge but says he has endorsements and the Democratic party behind him which will help reach voters off the peninsula.
Although Simon got a huge percentage of the Rockaway vote, he is controversial on both style and substance. At public meetings, he shows off a loud voice which some enjoy and others loathe. He has a spotty job history and has been caught lying about credentials. Still, all that mattered on Primary Night was that he was one step closer to his dream about officially representing people in his district.
When asked how 95 people in Belle Harbor could vote for the unknown Diaz, Simon said, “Some people don’t like me. I know, I know. But I expect all those 95 to vote for me in November!”
In the other Rockaway/City Council race, Donovan Richards kept his Council seat in Far Rockaway beating Michael Duncan (52 to 36 percent).
As for the mayoral and comptroller races, Rockaway voters were split. Although the final numbers have not yet been made official, it appears William Thompson was the overall winner in Rockaway, west of Beach 95th Street. Generally, Bill de Blasio captured election districts east of Beach 95th Street. For Comptroller, Scott Stringer was the overwhelming winner on the west end while Elliot Spitzer edged out Stringer on the east end. Republican Joe Lhota was a clear winner over John Catsimatidis on both ends of the peninsula.