NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Ritchie Torres is heading to the House of Representatives to represent the South Bronx.

According to The Associated Press, Torres, a Democrat, handily defeated Republican Patrick Delices on Tuesday in the 15th Congressional District. He becomes the first Afro-Latino openly gay candidate elected to Congress.

With 74% of precincts reporting, Torres had almost 89% of the vote.

“Tonight, a new era begins for the South Bronx. It is the honor of a lifetime to represent a borough filled with essential workers who have risked their lives so that New York City could live. The Bronx is essential, and the vibrant, loving and talented people who live here have shown time and again their power, fortune and perseverance. The Bronx is the heartbeat of New York City,” Torres said in a statement.

The race pitted a well known city councilman against a Republican who had never held political office before, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported.

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The Bronx as a whole has been among the hardest hit when it comes to the economic and health care crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

With each vote, residents of the South Bronx hoped to get the help they need.

“Congress, I think they should pass more laws to help us in terms with taxes, laws that can help us in terms of prison reform,” voter Ariel Tejada said.

“How do you provide for child care. They don’t feel like they have to struggle so much to make ends meet,” another voter said.

This community has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“We are at a crossroads in the Bronx and in our nation. The scourge of COVID-19 has laid bare the inequalities that for too long have been allowed to fester in our communities. The hit our neighborhoods have taken is stark, with a pandemic laid over an economic disaster with a recovery that helps only those at the top, not at the bottom,” Torres said.

Latest Results15th Congressional District 2020: Patrick Delices (R) vs. Ritchie Torres (D)

The 15th Congressional District has been a Democratic stronghold for decades.

Torres, who served on City Council for seven years, beat a dozen Democratic challengers to win the primary, touting policies like expanding housing vouchers and child tax credits.

“The Bronx’s struggles have been my struggles. Whether it’s growing up in public housing, clawing to make ends meet, or as someone who struggles with depression, this borough is my only priority in Congress,” Torres said. “The Bronx is my home, it is what made me who I am, and it is what I will fight for in Congress. I thank the voters of the South Bronx from the bottom of my heart for the trust they put in me to represent them. It is the honor of a lifetime.”

MORE FROM CBS NEW YORK

The South Bronx is one of the lowest income districts in the country.

Residents say there is a lot of work to do.

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