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Mark Gjonaj (/ˈn/ JOH-nye)[1] is an American politician of the Democratic Party. He has served in the New York City Council from the 13th district since 2018. He represented district 80 of the New York State Assembly from 2013 to 2017. His district encompasses Morris Park, Pelham Parkway, Pelham Gardens, and Norwood, among other communities located in the Borough of the Bronx.

Mark Gjonaj
Member of the New York City Council from the 13th district
Assumed office
January 1, 2018
Preceded byJames Vacca
Member of the New York State Assembly from the 80th district
In office
January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2017
Preceded byNaomi Rivera
Succeeded byNathalia Fernandez
Personal details
BornBronx, New York
United States
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materSt. John's University


Early life and educationEdit

Gjonaj was born in the Bronx to an Albanian family from Reč, Montenegro. He attended St. Raymond High School for Boys and graduated from St. John's University with a bachelor's degree.[2][3]


Gjonaj is the president of M P Realty Group Corp., a real estate brokerage firm that he founded in 1999. His political experience prior to election was as a member of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.

New York State AssemblyEdit

Gjonaj defeated incumbent assemblywoman Naomi Rivera in the 2012 Democratic primary race, in a district which, due to mandatory re-districting, incorporated a large part of the borough previously part of the 81st District represented by Jeffrey Dinowitz.[4] On November 6, 2012, he won the general election with 79% of the vote.[5]

New York City CouncilEdit

In 2017, Gjonaj entered the race to represent the 13th District of the New York City Council, to replace Councilman James Vacca, who had to step down due to term limits.[6] At the time of the primary election, he was seen as a leading candidate, due to the large amount of financing he had received, much of it from the real estate industry and other sources outside of the district, for which he was criticized by his opponents.[7][8] Gjonaj won the five-way primary with 39% of the vote, over the out-going Vacca's endorsed candidate, Marjorie Velazquez, who won 34%, and third-place John Doyle's 19%.[9]

On November 8, 2017, Gjonaj won his bid to replace New York City Councilman James Vacca, defeating the Republican candidate John Cerini by a margin of 49% to 36%[10].

Election historyEdit

Election History
Location Year Election Type Results
Candidate Votes Percent
NYS Assembly
District 80
2012 General √ Mark Gjonaj (D) 22,386 77.76%
Nicole J. Torres (R) 2,600 7.92%
Naomi Rivera (WFP) 2,186 6.66%
Patrick A. McManus (Cons) 861 2.62%
William Edstrom (Green) 274 0.83%
NYS Assembly
District 80
2014 General √ Mark Gjonaj (D) 9,816 77.76%
Robert Goodman (R/Cons) 1,892 14.99%
NYS Assembly
District 80
2016 General √ Mark Gjonaj (D) 24,959 70.50%
Nicholas Marricco (R) 3,391 9.58%
Robert Goodman (Cons) 953 2.69%
NYC Council
District 13
2017 Democratic Primary √ Mark Gjonaj 3,503 38.46%
Marjorie Velazquez 3,113 34.14%
John C. Doyle 1,728 18.97%
NYC Council
District 13
2017 General √ Mark Gjonaj (D) 10,602 48.62%
John Cerini (R/Cons/Reform) 7,791 35.73%
Marjorie Velazquez (WFP) 2,829 12.97%


  1. ^ Goodman, J. David (12 September 2017). "Local Issues Dominate New York City Council Elections". Retrieved 6 February 2018 – via
  2. ^ "Albanian-American realtor challenges incumbent Bronx Assemblywoman". Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-07-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Kratz, Alex (September 20, 2012). "Naomi Rivera Defeated Soundly in Assembly Primary By Hard-Working Challenger". Bronx News. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  5. ^ Kratz, Alex (November 7, 2012). "No Surprises in Local Election Results as Democrats Sweep the Bronx". Norwood News. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  6. ^ Ben Max (May 1, 2017). "Candidates for 2017 City Elections". Gotham Gazette.
  7. ^ Ross Barkan (September 8, 2017). "Bronx Assembly Member Mark Gjonaj Is Trying to Spend His Way Onto the City Council". Village Voice.
  8. ^ Jonathan Gomez (August 25, 2017). "Frontrunner Becomes Top Issue in East Bronx Council Race".
  9. ^ Max, Ben. "2017 New York City Primary Election Results". Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  10. ^ "Election Results: De Blasio Wins Second Term as New York City Mayor". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-11-08.
Political offices
Preceded by
James Vacca
New York City Council, 13th District
Preceded by
Naomi Rivera
New York Assembly, 80th District
Succeeded by
Nathalia Fernandez