Category #2: Indictment Excitement
There are a number of elected officials running for re-election with various criminal allegations hanging over their heads. If the more ethically challenged ones win and are eventually convicted of abusing their offices, the results of these races might send a depressing message about the state of the electorate. (They have all maintained their innocence.)
State Senator Shirley Huntley, who was arrested a couple weeks ago on charges that she used member items to line the pockets of her friends and family, is facing a very strong primary challenge from Councilman James Sanders. Even before Ms. Huntley’s legal troubles, Mr. Sanders was mounting a credible primary challenge, as his base in Far Rockaway was drawn into her southeastern Queens district in this year’s redistricting process. Mr. Sanders has also picked up support from a number of unions and the influential Rev. Floyd Flake, making this race seem like it’s his to lose at this point.
Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. currently stands accused of one of the more hilarious acts of alleged official impropriety in recent memory – taking bribes to pay for his legal bills he ran up in a separate bribery case. It’s not clear if Mr. Boyland intends to fight the federal charges again or accept a plea deal, but the indictment–with wiretap evidence–seems pretty damning. Damning enough that he’d have a much harder re-election bid ahead of him if it weren’t for the fact that he’s facing eight (!) challengers who will split the anti-Boyland vote. With such a large field, it’s difficult to get a clear read on this Brownsville and Ocean Hill-based district, but activist Tony Herbert and campaign operative Anthony Jones seems to be running some of the stronger non-Boyland campaigns.
Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera is being investigated by a small army of agencies on whether she may have illegally provided jobs to her boyfriends and used a nonprofit’s funds for personal and political purposes. She faces a field of three opponents, but businessman Mark Gjonaj is running the most serious campaign of the bunch, with over $200,000 in his war chest and substantial investments in advertising and field operations. Ms. Rivera won’t go down without a fight, however, and the Bronx Democratic establishment is pulling out all the stops to ensure she pulls out a victory. Will she be able to survive the barrage of bad headlines that have dogged her for the last few weeks and make it through Election Day?