Jesus Gonzalez will officially launch his campaign for term-limited City Councilman Erik Dilan’s seat next Wednesday, setting the stage for another confrontation between Mr. Gonzalez and the county Democratic organization. Mr. Gonzalez, a young activist for Make the Road New York, gained prominence running under the Working Families Party’s banner against the Democratic Party’s pick in a special election for the State Assembly last summer.
“For many of us the next municipal election still feels like something in the distant future,” Mr. Gonzalez wrote in an email to supporters this afternoon. “For me, it feels just around the corner.”
Councilman Erik Dilan, who’s trying to unseat veteran Rep. Nydia Velázquez along with two other challengers, has a natural dilemma of increasing his name recognition in a diverse district spanning three boroughs, and he’s working to change that in recent days. The latest is a piece of mail being delivered throughout the district, according to a reader who passed it along.
Over the past week, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and her main challenger, Councilman Erik Dilan, have both went on Inside City Hall on separate occasions and make the case for why voters of New York’s 7th Congressional District should elect them. Notably, when it came to pointed barbs, they criticized each other’s ability to enact important legislation in Washington D.C.
“Where was my opponent, as chairman of the Housing Committee in the City Council, where was he in terms of securing the city government funding to provide for those housing developments?” Ms. Velázquez asked after touting her own efforts to get federal funding for public housing in her district.
In today’s congressional endorsement news, Hakeem Jeffries, the Brooklyn Assembly running to replace the retiring Ed Towns, announced the backing of a slew of elected officials in a new corner of his reconfigured district, while longtime incumbent Nydia Velazquez got the support of the transit workers union.
Mr. Jeffries has been running hard against Mr. Towns until the incumbent abruptly decided to retire, leaving the race a two-person fight between Mr. Jeffries and City Councilman Charles Barron.
Both candidates have been forced to introduce themselves to the mostly white ethnic voters near Coney Island, an area of the city that was drawn into the district during the redistricting process.
Earlier this afternoon, groups working to get paid sick day legislation through the City Council turned their sights to Councilman Erik Dilan, whom they described as a potential swing vote on the issue given that Latino constituents, like many of those in his district, disproportionately work jobs that currently do not provide paid sick leave.
Make the Road New York and New York Communities for Change participated in today’s event, where they claim they delivered 1,800 postcards from his constituents to petition Mr. Dilan on the issue.
Jesus Gonzalez, an activist who gained prominence by running in a special election for the State Assembly last summer, looks like he’s getting ready to run for term-limited Councilman Erik Dilan’s seat in 2013. Indeed, he just registered a campaign committee for the run today and at Lincoln Restler’s campaign kickoff event last night, he told The Politicker he was getting “closer to making a decision.”
Usually, prominent elected officials tend to form a defensive wall whenever an incumbent is challenged in a primary, but that’s not quite the case in Brooklyn. For example, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries bid to unseat Rep. Ed Towns was met with the support of a variety of politicians in the area. Somewhat similarly, Councilman Erik Dilan, whose candidacy is backed by Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez, appears to have some support among his fellow elected officials as he seeks to unseat Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez.
Among his contributors are a number of close allies of Mr. Lopez, including State Senator Martin Dilan, Assemblyman Rafael Espinal, Councilman Steve Levin, and Councilman Domenic Recchia. Notably, Senate Minority Leader John Sampson also waded into the race and gave Mr. Dilan $1,750 from his personal checkbook.
After increasingly likely signs that he would be challenging veteran Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Councilman Erik Dilan officially moved his campaign forward today, telling The Brooklyn Paper he’s firmly in the race. Michael Olmeda, a political operative close to the campaign, confirmed to The Politicker that Mr. Dilan is indeed running and will have a formal announcement event soon.
Mr. Dilan, a close ally of Brooklyn Democratic Chair Vito Lopez, will undoubtedly have the county establishment’s support in the race. With Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries’ campaign against Congressman Ed Towns, Mr. Lopez is now actively backing two campaigns against sitting Democratic Representatives this election cycle.
dan the man
Dan O’Connor, a candidate in the Democratic primary against veteran incumbent Nydia Velázquez, sent out a press release earlier today touting a new poll being completed on his behalf. “The poll reached out to over 15,000 voters within the district on a variety of political topics,” the release read.
The Politicker reached out to Mr. O’Connor’s campaign to find out what the actual poll results were. His campaign manager, Christina Tobin, declined to provide any specifics, but called the results “favorable.”
Is Brooklyn Councilman Erik Dilan’s potential primary challenge against Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez starting to take off the ground?
From the latest fundraising invitation from Michael Olmeda, a political consultant who worked as the campaign manager for Councilman Erik Dilan’s Chief of Staff Rafael Espinal’s in an Assembly special election last summer, it sure looks like it.
“I am once again reaching out to you to help support another of our young and progressive candidates for election,” Mr. Olmeda wrote in an email to potential donors this evening, forwarded to The Politicker by a friendly reader.