Battle of Brooklyn
Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez does not forget. And she does not forgive.
Accordingly, Ms. Velázquez is now hoping to unseat Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez, who endorsed Ms. Velázquez’s primary challenger last year. And she’s given the maximum contribution to Ms. Gonzalez’s opponent, Carlos Menchaca, part of an overall haul of $40,000 overall in just two weeks.
“I am impressed by how much Carlos has achieved in such a short period of time,” Ms. Velázquez said in a statement this morning.
an election grows in brooklyn
Assemblyman Rafael Espinal is officially campaigning for the seat belonging to outgoing Councilman Erik Dilan, he told Politicker today. Combined with yesterday’s Council announcement by Assemblyman Micah Kellner and Joe Lhota’s mayoral campaign, indicators are piling up that the 2013 election cycle is fully underway, up an down the ballot.
“I just think it’s a great opportunity to have a direct impact on my communities; in the State Assembly, it’s harder to bring resources into our neighborhoods,” Mr. Espinal said, adding that his experience as Mr. Dilan’s chief of staff will enable him to “hit the ground running.”
In another sign the 2013 races are almost fully underway, Assemblyman Rafael Espinal, who first won a relatively high-profile special election in northeastern Brooklyn in 2011, is moving forward with his aim to replace term-limited Councilman Erik Dilan next year and formed a campaign committee for the effort.
“I’m leaning towards running, but the truth of the matter is I just got elected to the assembly,” Mr. Espinal told us this morning. “But that option’s available. I’m very proud of my record in the record in the State Assembly.”
Anyone who follows northern Brooklyn politics enough quickly learns that there is an incredibly sharp political divide between the two rival factions in Hasidic Williamsburg, where the larger faction favors candidates backed by Brooklyn’s Democratic leader Vito Lopez and the smaller one favors candidates he opposes. With both factions turning out in record numbers in last Tuesday’s election where incumbent Rep. Nydia Velázquez thumped the Lopez-backed candidacy of Councilman Erik Dilan, that smaller faction decided to take a small victory lap today.
In a press release blasted out by George Arzt Communications, the same firm that worked for Ms. Velázquez’s campaign, Rabbi Moshe Indig, a power broker in the the “Aroni” Satmar sect, declared his faction’s ongoing success over Mr. Lopez.
It’s Election Day today and there are many ways to get involved in congressional campaigns around the state. One of the suggestions from Democratic congressional candidate Erik Dilan seems misplaced, however.
Supporters who visit his official campaign website and click the “volunteer” button, are eventually greeted with a curious set of options that includes “Blog for Dan Halloran.” Mr. Halloran, of course, is a Republican congressional candidate in an entirely different district.
“She is going to say to you that Nydia Velázquez doesn’t speak Cantonese, Fujianese, or Mandarin, but my heart does,” Congresswoman Velázquez told a packed senior center off Mulberry Street in Manhattan. Although the line was a little cheesy, the cheered loudly when Councilwoman Margaret Chin finished translating it.
Ms. Chin, joined by Comptroller John Liu, was there to urge the center’s elderly residents to vote in tomorrow’s Democratic primary. The district, oddly configured, includes the heavily Chinese communities in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and Ms. Velázquez, with another campaign stop in Sunset Park in the afternoon, is clearly making a last-minute push for that community’s support.
Councilman Erik Dilan, a candidate against veteran Rep. Nydia Velázquez, announced the backing of a number of notable elected officials at the end of last week (although some of the names on the list had actually endorsed the incumbent), and Ms. Velázquez has fired back with her own support this afternoon with Borough President Marty Markowitz and other officials.
“Nydia Velázquez has always been, and will always be one of Brooklyn’s biggest supporters,” Mr. Markowitz said in a statement. “Whenever a fight arises for the survival of Brooklyn’s middle-class, support of small business or affordable housing, Congresswoman Velázquez has been there for us. Be there for her.”
Last month, The Observer wrote a piece detailing how the New York Times endorsement process works, what the editorial board looks for in a candidate, and how much getting the gray lady’s nod determines who emerges victorious on election day.
Now, with New York’s federal elections only a few weeks away, we take a look at each of the competitive elections on June 26, take a guess at which way the paper will go and deduce what kind of an effect it will have.
Disagree? Make it known in the comments.
U.S. Senate Republican Primary—Bob Turner vs. Wendy Long vs. George Maragos
It is no by means a certainty that The Times will endorse in the GOP Senate primary, and if they do, expect it to be a hold-you-nose-and-vote-for-the-guy-who-is-marginally-better-than-the-rest kind of endorsement. Expect something along the lines of the paper’s endorsement of Mitt Romney in the presidential primary in April, in which they mocked Mr. Romney for abandoning his moderating tendencies and slammed GOP extremism before declaring the Massachusetts governor “the best choice of the field.” For this little noticed Senate race for the right to go up against Kirsten Gillibrand, the paper is likely to go with Bob Turner, a Queens businessman-turned-congressman, who is far less strident in his social views than Wendy Long and more dynamic than George Maragos. Mr. Turner is running very much as the candidate of New York City, and hometown pride may count for something here.
One of the consequences of redistricting is that Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez picked up a larger swath of Brownstone Brooklyn and Park Slope, but Park Slope Councilman Brad Lander has her back. He’s raising money for her next Sunday and again the Wednesday the week after, according to invitations he’s sent out to his supporters.
“Nydia is in a tough reelection fight. We need Nydia in Washington fighting for us and she needs our support to win,” Mr. Lander wrote. “So I hope you can join me and other Brooklyn progressives for a brunch to support her reelection campaign.”
Councilman Erik Dilan, a candidate against Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, isn’t the only one already sending out mailers to Democratic voters in her district. Ms. Velázquez’s latest goes all out in emphasizing President Obama’s health care reform legislation, according to one such ad passed along by a reader.
“Republicans revolted. Some Democrats wavered,” the headline reads. “NYDIA VELÁZQUEZ STOOD STRONG.”