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For Many, Velazquez Win Doubles As Referendum On Party Leader

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Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez on Tuesday easily held onto her spot on the Democratic ballot in November despite a tough primary race in her district that's now spread across three boroughs. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

It was supposed to be her strongest primary challenge since taking office 20 years ago. But Nydia Velazquez won in a landslide and is likely headed to her 11th term in Washington.

"Clearly the voters sent a clear message that they are the ones that represent their community," Velazquez said.

The congresswoman's strongest challenge came from City Councilman Erik Martin Dilan who was backed by the Brooklyn Democratic leader, State Assemblyman Vito Lopez.

Many saw the contest as less between Velazquez and Dilan and more between the congresswoman and Lopez.

"I am proud to stand here as your congresswoman and I am proud to say I am unbossed and unbought," Velazquez told supporters.

She even had her victory party in territory typically thought of as Lopez's terrain. And her supporters turned out.

"We had a candidate on the streets talking about her record. People knew about her record," said State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

For the first time, in a redrawn district, the congresswoman will also represent the Satmar Jewish community in Williamsburg, a community divided into two factions. One is closely aligned with Lopez, the other took the side of Velazquez.

Her side saw this as a defeat for the county's Democratic leader.

"He called himself a tiger and now we can tell you, we can say he is a dead tiger," said Rabbi Moishe Indig of the Jewish Community Council of Williamsburg.

In the end, Velazquez sees this as more than just another term in Washington, and sees it as a victory over the Brooklyn Democratic party.

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