Michael Benedetto beats back progressive primary challenge from Jonathan Soto

Veteran East Bronx Assemblyman Michael Benedetto beat off a challenge by a progressive supporter Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Benedetto led Jonathan Soto in the Pelham Bay-based district by about a 20 percentage point margin. Algernon Quattlebaum trailed far behind.

As of 11 p.m. Benedetto had 4,353 votes, or 56%, compared to Soto’s 2,794 votes or 36%, with 6% counted.

Benedetto is the powerful head of the Education Committee and has risen to be a senior member of the Democratic leadership team during two decades in office.

Saying he’s proud of his work to improve schools, Benedetto called the reelection campaign a “job interview” and said he trusts the verdict of voters in his community.

He boasts of support from powerful unions and is backed by Mayor Adams. He has reportedly spent heavily from his campaign war chest, a sign he could be nervous about an upset.

Soto, 36, who has worked as a campaign aide to Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), says it’s time for fresh blood.

A public school parent, Soto ran the Homework Helpers Program which provides virtual assistance to students in the district.

Soto has slammed Benedetto for once taking campaign donations from Donald Trump and spearheading the development of the Trump-branded public golf course near the foot of the Whitestone Bridge.

Benedetto says he abhors Trump’s policies and redirected the donations to charity.

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