A journey that began with for a possible run against a 30-year Congressional veteran ended Tuesday night with a resounding victory against a 13-year veteran of the City Council.
According to the Associated Press, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, D-Brooklyn, has won the 8th Congressional District Democratic primary against challenger Charles Barron—a triumph that should pave the way for a November victory.
As of late Tuesday night, Jeffries led with 72 percent of the vote over Barron with 94 percent of precincts reporting, the AP said.
"All of the political pundits said this would be a close race," Jeffries told the packed room at Clinton Hill's Sanders Studios in his victory speech. "That was before the people had spoken."
He went on to thank his wife, his two sons and a campaign team that ran a race short on mistakes.
In his victory speech, Jeffries vowed to stand up for seniors, schoolchildren and President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C.
"I think he's doing a great job," Jeffries said of the President. "Brooklyn is sending a message that help is on the way."
In attendance at Jeffries' victory party was Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio, former city Comptroller and mayoral candidate Bill Thompson and a packed house of enthusiastic supporters.
"He's a serious and meaningful guy...who is going to help us move this city forward," DeBlasio said.
At Barron's campaign event in Bed-Stuy, the mood was understandably much more subdued as it became clear that the night belonged to Jeffries.
"When we lodged this campaign we knew that we were going to be up against powerful opposition," Barron told his supporters. "Never in the annals of the political history of this state has the candidate had to go against the entire New York National Democratic political leadership—Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo had to do robo-calls."
Based on early returns, it appeared that Barron trailed Jeffries even in East New York, where his council district is centered.
In his remarks, Barron struck a defiant note in regards to his opponent.
"At the risk of sounding like a sore loser, honesty compels me to say there will be no congratulatory statements to the opposition tonight only because the way the campaign was run and the things they did, the character assasination," he said of Jeffries. "And the opponent didn't stand up and say, 'I have enough money, I have enough backing to win—don't do that to another black man in front of the entire nation.' ... Not to do that shows a lack of character."
Outside his campaign event, Jeffries told reporters that it was the "chattering class" that made the race seem closer than Tuesday's election results indicated.
"There is not a single part of this district in which we didn't do well," he said.
Amy Sara Clark contributed reporting.