Long Beach voters elected Anissa Moore as their first African-American City Council member Tuesday, while the city's Democratic Party vowed to unify but remained divided.
Moore, a communications professor at Nassau County Community College, was top vote-getter as she led a Democratic ticket with incumbents Anthony Eramo and Len Torres. Moore and Eramo earned four-year terms, while Torres will serve two years.
She was tasked by Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs to challenge the city's Democratic ticket in a September primary.StoryCity voters choose new leader after political battleStoryLong Beach Dems ask leader to resignSee alsoComplete coverage
Moore said late Tuesday that despite a bitter Democratic primary and party divide, she wants to unify the city. She also hopes to bring a new voice to the council to represent neighborhoods and minorities that may have been excluded. Long Beach is about 6 percent black.
"This is a historic moment for Long Beach. The people have spoken, and change is needed," Moore said. "I recognize that so many people have worked and sacrificed to achieve this. It's humbling but troubling that it took this long."
All three winners called for city unity, but a split party remained on election night.
Ousted city Democratic leader Mike Zapson held one election party with Eramo and Torres, while Moore joined newly elected Long Beach Democratic Committee Chairman Rob Solomon at a another party. Moore later joined Eramo and Torres and expressed disappointment that they had not initially shared the win together.
Solomon assumed the Long Beach leadership last month, while Zapson has continued to lead the old Long Beach Democratic Committee.
Solomon said Moore's campaign faced two political machines -- the old committee and Republicans. He acknowledged the rift and said the old party was invited to the victory celebration but could not overcome past differences.
Torres and Eramo also advocated for one party, but remained steadfast that they would not be moved by outside influences. They vowed to continue the city's work on fiscal and storm recovery.
"This was one of the most bizarre campaigns where Democrats were so divisive," Torres told supporters. "This club is going to exist a long time and get stronger than ever before."