New Faces Prove Successful in Preliminary Election

A wave of new faces and non-incumbents shocked some political veterans and knocked District 5 Councillor Joe Perlatonda out of his seat during Tuesday’s Preliminary Election.

The hottest race in the city – that of the at-large race – featured eight candidates and headlined with political newcomer Damali Vidot topping the ticket with 606 votes in a low turnout of 11 percent of the 13,554 registered voters.

“I topped the ticket and I feel that clearly there is an anti-incumbent sentiment and people want change,” she said afterward. “Joe Perlatonda is out and he was an incumbent. I finished ahead of two incumbents. People showed it with the vote that they want change and I’m ready to answer that call. We ran a straight campaign and focused on the issues and our message. We never went negative even when others did. We’re not taking this for granted. It’s not over by any means. We’ll work just as hard up to the general election.”

Vidot’s entrance into politics is as surprising to her as it is to those who were shocked to see Tuesday’s results. Having been put-off by her tax bill, increasing crime in her Highland Street neighborhood and the parking program, she began going to City Council meetings and wasn’t happy with what she saw – often describing it as a “disconnect” between the people and City Hall.

“Several months ago, I would have never thought I’d be doing this,” she said.

The remainder of the field figured as follows:

  • Roy Avellaneda, 581
  • Councillor Calvin Brown, 507
  • Council President Leo Robinson, 487
  • Todd Taylor, 401
  • Deborah Washington, 248

Those knocked out of the race included James O’Regan with 237 votes and John Cadiz with 139 votes.

There were 26 write-in votes.

In the shocker of the night, sitting District 5 Councillor Joe Perlatonda was knocked out of the race, having been bested by newcomer Judith Garcia and challenger Henry Wilson.

Garcia topped District 5 voting with 74 votes and Henry Wilson came in second with 59 votes.

They will face each other in the general election in November.

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