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It’s party over friendship for Vacca in Snooki race

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SNOOKI WATCH

We expected to see east Bronx Councilman Jimmy Vacca walking around with his arm in a sling after some arm twisting from both sides. This after some early reports he was thinking about staying neutral in the race between Morris Park Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera and local Realtor Mark Gjonaj.

Gjonaj (pronounced Joe-nigh) is a heavy campaign contributor and old friend who told us he calls Vacca “Uncle Jimmy.”

“Mark has been a friend and has supported me for a long, long time,” said Jimmy, who did admit to some arm twisting from both sides.

“But Naomi is the incumbent and I am supporting her. In my mind, I did go over it for some time, and that was my decision.”

Jimmy has pretty much been doing Naomi’s district job for her, handling constituent issues and practically being two places at once in the community, while Naomi has either been AWOL or disappears after five minutes at community meetings.

But, hey, like we’ve said about Snooki, some electeds just wanna have fun....

Jimmy denied politics ever entered the decision, but with Dem Party Boss Carl Heastie cracking the whip to line up the party faithful behind Snooki, might it perhaps played a teensy part in Jimmy’s decision?

Especially with Jimmy casting his eye on becoming the next City Council Speaker after Christine Quinn leaves. Naw....

•By the way, we now have pinned on our office wall a photocopy of a picture emailed to us showing the leadership of the Liberty Democratic Association, long estranged from Snooki, surrounding her with big smiles on their faces. Gee, that Photoshop is really great!

•In other news from the Snooki front, Gjonaj will be tossing his first official fundraiser at Maestro’s tonight, and we hear he may have a very special visitor from Brooklyn. That’s all we can say for now, but we’ll be there snooping around, as they say.

BOARD OF SELECTIONS

The city Board of Elections has been without an exec director for a year and a half now, ever since former head George Gonzalez of the Bronx was bounced for assorted problems.

Now we hear the hang up is all about - surprise, surprise - politics.

Manhattan Dem Boss Keith Wright is reportedly keeping his Democratic representative to the board, lawyer Greg Soumas, from voting on a new board head while Wright and Bronx Boss Carl Heastie wrangle over Charlie Rangel, whose new congressional district takes in a quarter of the Bronx, and other assorted politics.

With Charlie winning Tuesday’s primary, a lotta folks believe he’ll spend some time in D.C. and then step down “for reasons of health.”

Wright reportedly wants Rangel’s job, and part of the horsetrading for Carl’s support, we’re told, is releasing Soumas to support Carl’s candidate to run the elections board.

At the moment, the Dems on the evenly-split 10-member board have four votes, along with Bronx Republican and board president J.C. Polanco’s vote, for whomever Carl has in mind. The only hold-up, we’re told, is Soumas waiting for his marching orders from Wright.

Meanwhile, deputy director and Bronx Republican Dawn Sandow has been holding down the fort with help from Polanco. Stay tuned.

COP CORNER

•That’s a great community advisory panel Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has put together to discuss street policing, i.e. stop-and-frisk tactics. But you’d think the rough-and-tumble Bronx, second in the city behind Brooklyn with 135,000 stops last year, would have at least one boro rep on the panel. Just sayin’....

•And speaking of Stop-and-push up the numbers, couple of cops pointing out to me those rookies in Operation Impact Zones spend a lot of their time just cruising around in vans with a sergeant. So where’s the street impact?

CONGRATS

He made it! Assemblyman Peter Rivera was confirmed by the state Senate as Governor Cuomo’s new state labor commissioner. David Griffiths, former law partner, campaign treasurer and head of the do-nothing non-profit NETS where Peter pumped almost $2 million into and where his son worked, wasn’t so fortunate, now facing federal jail time on his conviction for stealing funds there.

WORK IT!

The left-leaning Working Families Party will be putting Senator Jeff Klein on its ballot line in the Sept. 13 primary, along with the other three members of his Independent Democratic Conference. Further evidence Jeff is sitting pretty with his breakaway group in the Republican-controlled Senate.

WFP executive director Dan Cantor told the City & State political blog they get support for their stands on issues “like raising the minimum wage and limiting the role of big money in politics.”

JOGGIN’ JOE

He didn’t have to run for reelection this year, but Rep. Jose Serrano tells us he runs three miles a day. And we’d bet it’s all Sinatra tunes in his earplugs.

Got some hot gossip? E-mail Kappy at bkappstatter@cnglocal.com.

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