Elisa Crespo Announces She Will Not Run in June Primary

Elisa Crespo during the campaign in the Bronx's District 15.
Twitter/ElisaCrespoNYC

Elisa Crespo, an out transgender City Council candidate who ran in the March special election race in the Bronx’s District 15, said she will not be running for the Democratic primary in June.

Crespo is currently in fourth in a crowded field following the first round of ranked-choice voting in a district that includes Bedford Park, Fordham, Mount Hope, Bathgate, Belmont, East Tremont, West Farms, Van Nest, and Olinville.

Tenant lawyer Oswald Felix led the way as of election night when he carried 28.36 percent of the vote, followed by Ischia J. Bravo, who had 21.51 percent, John E. Sanchez, who received 20.20 percent, and Crespo, who pulled in 15.30 percent of the vote. Six additional candidates followed behind.

Ranked-choice voting rules stipulate that if no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote in the initial round, the bottom-ranked candidate is wiped out in every subsequent round until two candidates are remaining, at which point the candidate with the most votes wins.

Whoever wins the special election race will be required to run for re-election later this year, first in the June Democratic primary and then in the general election in November. While the results of the special election have yet to be finalized, Crespo, who sought to become the first out transgender lawmaker in New York, signaled her intentions to move on from the competition in a two-minute video looking back on her campaign.

“I’ve given much thought to our work and I’ve decided not to run for the Democratic primary in June,” Crespo said in the video, which was posted on social media April 6. “I wish my colleagues well in this next cycle.”

The winner of the race will replace Ritchie Torres — the first out LGBTQ elected official in the Bronx — following his historic rise to the House of Representatives, where he is the first out gay Afro-Latinx person in Congress.

While Torres has discussed the homophobia he faced on the campaign trail for City Council, Crespo faced multiple disparaging attacks of her own during her bid for city office. In late November, the New York Post sensationalized Crespo’s past experience engaging in sex work in a piece that sparked outrage in the city’s LGBTQ community. On election day last month, Crespo posted photos on social media showing flyers attacking her again with disparaging language, underscoring the adversity she faced during the campaign.

Still, Crespo reflected on the campaign with a sense of positivity and hope for the future.

“Over the last year it has been a privilege to explore every bit of our great community as I campaigned to represent District 15 in the New York City council,” Crespo said during her video. “It’s been an honor to connect with so many and share the joy we share as Bronxites.”

She added, “Together, we have made our politics a little more empathetic and we made history while doing it. I am looking forward to continuing to organize our community, working to expand the electorate, and serving our neighbors in need as a community organizer. I’m also looking forward to building political power among the LGBTQ community and our allies in the Bronx.”

On the day after the election, Crespo acknowledged the historic nature of her candidacy in a city that has yet to elect an out transgender lawmaker.

“I hope that someone out there sees themselves reflected in this campaign and understands that their story and struggles matter,” Crespo said.

Watch Crespo’s full announcement video below.

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