Levine and Hoylman neck-and-neck in Manhattan borough president race

Candidates from city council contenders to mayoral hopefuls hunkered down late Tuesday night as they braced for round one of the citywide primary results.

Manhattan Borough President candidate Mark Levine and City Council District 7 candidate Shaun Abreu were but two competitors amidst a legion of men and women vying for a new elected seat. The pair chose to wait out the process at the Hilltop Park Alehouse restaurant on West 159th Street.

The night proved to be a tense one for Levine. As the results began to trickle in just after 9pm, the Manhattan Borough President race soon developed into a game of hot potato between Levine and state Senator Brad Hoylman as they traded the lead by a matter of decimal points. For Abreu, however, it was a much different story.

Mark Levine watches the votes trickle in alongside his campaign members. Photo by Dean Moses

Abreu, who looks to succeed Levine in City Council District 7, quickly took the lead according to preliminary vote counts, much to the delight of his supporters. The bar broke out in an eruption of cheers and chants as Abreu fans literally jumped for joy after he ended the night leading with 27% of the vote count.

Supporters roar as Mark Levine and Shaun Abreu take the lead in their respective races. Photo by Dean Moses

“It’s a true honor to be here to represent folks from District 7 — this is my home, the place I have known my entire life. I went from being evicted as a child to a tenant’s rights attorney to keep families in their homes. The folks in this room saw me grow up from the good and the bad and now I am their champaign and I will be their fighter,” Abreu told amNewYork Metro.

Shaun Abreu relishes the victory. Photo by Dean Moses

As the night wore on and June 22 became June 23, Levine began to edge ahead of Hoylman, which had his team high-fiving and clapping. They were not the only excited ones though. Fellow politicians such as Councilman Justin Brannan and Congressmember Adriano Espaillat arrived to show their support for Levine.

Although the race remained tight, Levine ended election day with 28% of the votes narrowly beating out Hoylman by 3 points. With ranked-choice voting still capable of switching things up, Levine was careful not to declare victory, but he did tell amNewYork Metro that he is feeling optimistic.

Mark Levine with Congressmember Adriano Espaillat. Photo by Dean Moses

“I am so grateful for the people in this room who have put their hearts and souls into this campaign—hundreds of volunteers. We have a lot more votes to count and so this is not about declaring victory, but I feel really good about where we are right now, but I am also very tired,” he joked.

Hoylman, on the other hand, issued a statement expressing confidence that he would pull off the victory once all the ranked-choice votes are counted.

“We’ll be closely following the numbers in the days ahead, and are confident that our campaign to do more for Manhattan will come out on top,” Hoylman said. “We expect to win.”

Levine also said he is determined to look to the future of Manhattan with the hope he can play a pivotal role in its comeback story.

“Manhattan is coming back but it is still bearing deep wounds from this past year: health wounds, economic wounds, the wounds of inequality. That will be my mission,” Levine said.

Mark Levine embraces a supporter as he takes the lead. Photo by Dean Moses
Team Levine goes wild. Photo by Dean Moses