A candidate running to fill disgraced ex-Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s empty seat said Wednesday he would be “hard-pressed” to vote for Shelly Silver as his speaker because of Mr. Silver’s mishandling of the sexual harassment allegations that forced Mr. Lopez out.
Assembly Democrats have thus far been reluctant to discuss leadership changes, despite the fact that a majority of voters would like to see Mr. Silver go. But attorney Jason Otaño, the favorite of anti-Lopez activists, was blunt when posed the question at a forum last night.
The Battle for Bushwick
The race to replace former Assemblyman Vito Lopez won’t simply be a one-on-one affair.
Charvey Gonzalez, an aide to State Senator Martin Dilan, is also joining the field, which already includes district leader Maritza Davila and attorney Jay Otaño.
It’s Election Day in New York next Thursday! But instead of a titanic battle between ideologies–your Mitt Romneys vs. Barack Obamas, if you will–the options on the ballot will be little-noticed state legislative contests between candidates of the same party, often with few policy differences.
However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some exciting races happening. From “Who Gets Arrested for Raping a Grandmother?” to “Assemblywoman Caught Up in Sex Scandal with Two Young Men,” there’s been no shortage of nasty drama and mud slinging as voters head to the polls.
Here’s a breakdown of who’s running and why it might matter who wins. The list below focuses on Democratic races because the few Republican primaries in this staunchly blue city tend to have clear favorites or are taking place in such Democratic territory that the victor is reasonably likely to be irrelevant.
Jason Otaño, currently the General Counsel to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, will launch his state senate campaign against Martin Dilan next Thursday with the backing of Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and Councilwoman Diana Reyna. The move sets up yet another match between the county’s Democratic organization, led by Assemblyman Vito Lopez, and those who oppose his rule.
This reoccurring theme most recently played out when Mr. Dilan’s son Erik challenged Ms. Velázquez, resulting in an election last week where he was soundly beaten. Ms. Velázquez performed well even in Dilan territory, which surely emboldened Mr. Otaño and his supporters. However, defeating an incumbent is never an easy task, and he starts out as the underdog in the race.
Earlier today, Politicker reported that Councilwoman Diana Reyna’s Chief of Staff Antonio Reynoso is looking at running for her seat when she retires, joining Borough President Marty Markowitz’s aide Jay Otaño. Since then, District Leader Maritza Davila told City & State she’s in the race again as well.
Now, Tommy Torres, a teacher active in Democratic politics, tells Politicker he’s also considering joining the crowded fray. ”Right now, it’s just an exploratory committee,” he said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to run.”
He’s already taken the first step needed to raise funds for such a campaign by registering a committee for the seat.