A win for real estate: Socialist candidate halts Assembly bid

Former chief of staff for Sen. Julia Salazar was targeting Erik Dilan

Boris Santos
Boris Santos

There is one fewer thorn in the side of real estate today.

Boris Santos, a former public school teacher who planned to challenge north Brooklyn Assembly member Erik Dilan, suspended his campaign late Tuesday afternoon.

The announcement is a blow to the Democratic Socialists of America, who endorsed Santos last year. Given that Santos’ former boss, Sen. Julia Salazar, ousted Dilan’s father Martin Dilan from the Senate in 2018, Santos was viewed as a credible threat to the incumbent, who has served in the Assembly since 2015.

It is also a win for the real estate industry, which backed Martin Dilan against Salazar and was supporting Erik Dilan’s effort to hold off Santos in the June 23 Democratic primary.

In a Medium post addressing his supporters, Santos cited “people from outside the community mounting whisper campaigns,” as part of his rationale for halting his campaign. He provided no details about the whispers.

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“In the end, electoral politics is a toxic sport,” Santos wrote. “It is one where people are quicker to disparage others than to elevate them — all in an effort to maintain power.” Salazar endured a barrage of negative press during her 2018 bid, but won handily.

Assemblymember Erik Dilan

Assembly member Erik Dilan

Santos was running openly as a democratic socialist and said last August that the “Assembly needs more comrades.” Santos was a special education teacher in Far Rockaway and later worked for City Council member Antonio Reynoso as the Bushwick and Ridgewood housing organizer.

Dilan’s Assembly district covers Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick and East New York, and has a significant overlap with Salazar’s Senate district, where the Democratic Socialists of America waged a successful ground game in 2018.

Before joining the Assembly, Dilan served in the City Council from 2002 to 2014, succeeding his father.