Today’s news:

Bronx Democratic Party endorsement of Espaillat over Rangel a safe bet

If not now, soon enough for Bronx Dems and Espaillat

Bronx Times

It was out with the old, in with new on Monday, April 14, as Bronx Dems followed in Boro Prez Ruben Diaz Jr.’s footsteps by endorsing state Senator Adriano Esapaillat over incumbent Charlie Rangel for congress.

Most folks are still hedging their bets on Rangel going down – he still has clout. But it’s certainly making this race look like the 2012 down-to-the-wire one where Charlie beat Espaillat by only a thousand votes.

Bronx Dem Boss Carl Heastie finally did get off the, er, throne a week after we questioned his delay in endorsing anyone, to throw County support, such as it is these days, to Espaillat.

As a high ranking party insider put it, “Charlie is history, Adriano is the future.”

And even if Charlie squeaks by again, “the party’s thinking is Charlie may likely step down after a while into his term.”

With that scenario, Gov. Cuomo would likely call a special election to fill the remainder of the two-year term, Harlem Assemblyman and Manhattan Dem Boss Keith Wright would likely run for the seat, and given the changing demographics of the district, “Adriano could take him out for the next full term,” sayeth our insider. “It’s Adriano’s time.”

OLLIE

D for Decision Day is fast approaching for former state Attorney General and recently term-limited Riverdale City Councilman Oliver Koppell to decide if he has enough traction (and bux) to mount a challenge against state Senator Jeff Klein.

Koppell said he would make his decision shortly after the state budget was passed, which was three weeks ago. His latest deadline is now after Easter.

One of the key issues he could be weighing, according to a savvy Riverdale political insider, is just how BADLY Ollie could lose to Klein, who has a VERY big campaign warchest, and just how much money Ollie can raise. He’d probably need $500,00, “and this is April already,” our source noted.

The regular Senate Democratic Conference has no love for Klein over his grabbing their majority away by joining his Independent Democratic Conference with Senate Republicans. But how much they’re willing to push back using Koppell and risk their own members facing Klein-backed challenges is another question.

“It’s like a bar brawl, pushing someone to fight,” said the source. “It doesn’t mean they’re gonna be in the fight.”

SEPARATION ANXIETY?

And speaking of the Independent Democratic Conference, could regular Senate Dems be seeking rapprochement with Jeff? Rumors are going ‘round that regular Dem Mike Gianaris of Queens has reportedly put out feelers to Jeff, with a possible co-leadership deal if Jeff moves his IDC back across the aisle, stripping the GOP of its coalition majority rule.

A source inside Jeff’s camp, playing coy, MOSTLY downplayed the rumor. But then again, it wouldn’t be the first time that a “planted” rumor actually becomes reality.

‘NO COMMENT’

News veteran, lawyer and Bronx native Terry Raskyn succeeding Steven Reed, who’s retiring after nearly 24 years as spokesperson for Bronx D.A. Rob Johnson.

GRAND OPTIMIST PARTY

The Bronx County Republican Party will be holding its candidate screenings by appointment beginning May 5th for all local assembly and senate seats. Contact Chairman John Greaney at County headquarters at 718-792-5800 or through the county website thebronxgop.org to arrange an appointment for interviews by district leaders.

BACK TO BACK

The two Ruben’s - Senator Diaz Sr. and Boro Prez Diaz Jr. – are celebrating their birthdays only days apart. April 22 for Papi, turning 71, and April 26 for Jr., turning 41. Being politicians of course, it means both will be taking the occasions to raise some campaign bux.

Ruben the Younger will be tossing his $500-a-head birthday fundraiser Wednesday, April 30 at Jimmy Rodriquez’ hot hot hot Don Coqui Restaurant on City Island, while The Rev simply sent out a mailing seeking contributions “to help me keep fighting for New York’s senior citizens, students, veterans, businesses, and families.”

PROUD DAD

80th Assembly District State Committeeman/Liberty Dem Club stalwart Joe McManus talking up his artist son Mike’s show opening April 26 at the Heath Gallery, 24 W. 120th St. Show runs through May 16.

BRONX BIRTHDAYS

April 16 - City Councilman Fernando Cabrera

April 25 - Al Pacino (Alfredo James Pacino )

Reach Editor Bob Kappstatter at (718) 742–3395. E-mail him at bkappstatter@cnglocal.com.

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