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New Bronx political clubhouse with clout

New club, no challenge and no endorsement....

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Lotta breaking news (and we assume we’re beating the bloggers) in this column, so here we go....

Call it the Super Political Clubhouse.

State Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj are forming a political club expected to pull in several hundred members, and pretty much scare away political challengers -or work for or against others in Jeff’s sprawling Senate district.

The club, based in Gjonaj’s 80th Assembly District covering Morris Park/Allerton, will recruit members from across Klein’s 34th Senate District, which takes in a major swath of the north Bronx, from Riverdale to Throggs Neck.

The new club could overshadow the 80th A.D.’s Liberty Democratic Association, though Gjonaj called the district “big enough for two clubs.”

It’s likely, however, the new club might want to put up its own candidates for local male and female district leader and other party positions.

“There are plenty of disenfranchised voters out there who have not been included and we are seeking them out,” he noted.

The first term assemblyman said that he and Klein are now preparing to file paperwork with the state Department State and searching for a clubhouse location within Gjonaj’s district.

“We hope to be in business for the upcoming state primaries.”

That could be a big factor for Klein, Senate Dems No. 1 target since his breakaway four-member Independent Democratic Conference became a ruling coalition with Senate Republicans. Jeff just added more muscle to his IDC with Queens Senator Tony Avella as the latest cross-over.

ANNABEL OUT

Councilwoman Annabel Palma has dropped her plans to challenge South Bronx Congressman Jose Serrano.

The Soundview elected called us Wednesday just before deadline to say that with petitioning due to start March 4 and the primary close at hand on June 24, “time was just not on my side.”

“I gave it a lot of consideration, and I definitely tried to put it together...but you need to lay the foundation and do the groundwork.”

The term-limited pol, who had already filed the paperwork with the federal elections commission, still has options, including another shot at Serrano’s seat down the road, and a potential run for state Senate in her district if the currently ensconced Ruben (The Rev) Diaz Sr. makes good on his ruminations to run for her council seat when it becomes vacant in 2017.

WAIT FOR IT…

Looks like three wannabes for the 13th Congressional District seat will have to wait for Riverdale’s Ben Franklin Reform Democratic Club to endorse one of them.

Thanks to redistricting, a small pocket of the Harlem/northern Manhattan district falls into the northwest Bronx.

Incumbent Charlie Rangel; state Senator Adriano Espaillat, who lost to him by a slim margin in 2012, and the Rev. Michael Walrond Jr., a Harlem-based pastor with ties to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, all made their endorsement pitches to clubmembers Monday, Feb. 24.

But at the urging of Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, members voted to wait and see how the race shapes up before the June 24 primary.

Jeff and others also noted that Charlie never said he would swear to complete a full two-year term (the rumors are out there), while Espaillat didn’t say whether he’d quite his state seat to run (He doesn’t have to).

COP CORNER

Big congrats. To popular Bronx Boro Commander Carlos Gomez, adding a third star as new chief of NYPD’s Housing Bureau, replacing former Bronx C.O. Joanne Jaffe, shifted to Community Affairs Bureau. No word yet on a new Bronx boss.

SOB

We give Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. high marks for his fifth State of the Borough. Lotta new information besides the yearly recap of successes, not too much self back-patting, and some newsworthy announcements, including a call for a new Request for Proposals for the Bronx General Post Office, a major fixup of the Cross Bronx Expressway (“an abysmal failure”), and even a crackdown on those illegal dirt bikes roaring around local streets.

Scenes:

• Seatmates Councilmen Andy King and Fernando Cabrera happily singing their “Amens” along with the gospel choir on stage.

• Former Boro Hall staffer Bob Nolan bragging this was his 36th SOB. We can only claim sitting through 19.

• Lotta folks, including some VIPs, grumbling they had to wait in line outside on the Conc before they were let in. Thankfully, it wasn’t snowing.

• It’s not easy being green. Seems this year’s seating arrangements were color-codes, with various colored signs taped to seat, depending on how close folks were placed to the front. Community Board 10 Chair John Marano boasting Ruben “actually put us in the yellow seats.”

BRONX BIRTHDAYS

Feb. 24 - Former ‘Sopranos’ actor Dominic Chianese

Feb. 24 - Former city Commissioner of Records, and ‘Boardwalk Empire’ extra Brian Andersson

March 1 - Bronx Democratic Committee exec director Ischia Bravo

March 2 - Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem (1859-1916)

March 5 - Fran Mahony Reilly, female district leader in the east Bronx 82nd Assembly District.

March 6 - Former Bronx Boro Prez (and failed mayoral candidate) Adolfo Carrion.

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