WHAT A NIGHT
Tuesday’s primary in the borough was a debacle for the Bronx Democratic Party, with the race to fill disgraced west Bronx assemblyman Nelson Castro’s seat ending neck-and-neck between party-backed Victor Pichardo and former district leader Hector Ramiriez, no friend of Party Boss Carl Heastie.
Pichardo was only 72 votes ahead of Ramirez at latest count, with the party only able to muster a measly thousand or so votes for Pichardo. With that narrow margin and non-working voting machines, the contest is heading for a recount and court challenge.
Ritchie Torres, also backed with $200,000 in landlord PAC bux, stomped the competition for term-limited central Bronx Councilman Joel Rivera’s seat, with the non-running losers Joel and Assemblyman dad Jose, who were supposedly working to get Joel’s longtime chief of staff Albert Alvarez elected. He finished near the bottom instead.
And looking at the vote turnout map in the mayoral race, more egg on Party Boss Carl Heastie’s face (and Boro Prez Ruben Diaz Jr. too) for winner Bill DeBlasio plowing through the borough over Bill Thompson. The party went all out for Thompson, but the map shows all races and economic levels loved DeBlasio.
As is standard practice with political parties shortly after primaries, Bronx Dems will convene Thursday, Sept. 19 at the Eastwood Manor to nominate judicial candidates for the Nov. 6 general election, all pretty much of a scripted snooze.
But given that party scandal in the Pichardo race as yet another straw on County’s back, the real excitement may be coming NEXT September when party leadership slots – including for Party Boss Carl Heastie’s job – are up for a vote. We hear there’s a strong buzz that THOSE elections could be shaping up to become a real brawl. That’s all we’ll say for now, but definitely stay tuned….
That war of words between state Senate Dems and Jeff Klein and his Independent Democratic Conference continues.
After meeting with a top Dem Conference leader, term-limited Riverdale City Councilman Ollie Koppell is talking like an ALMOST serious candidate to challenge Klein for his north Bronx/lower Westchester seat in next year’s primary.
This after Koppel met with Senate Democratic Campaign Finance Committee chair Mike Gianaris, who pushed him to challenge the Jeff.
Klein with his three other members of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference cut duly elected majority senate Dems legs off at the knees by forming a majority coalition with Senate Republicans. Now regular Senate Dems would love to see Jeff ‘s downfall.
“He urged me to run,” Koppell said of his lunch with Gianaris. “He believes that its a winnable race, with considerable support from unions, from Democrats, from liberal individuals and organizations.
“My thinking is that someone should run against Klein. Is that going to be me? I haven’t decided that at this point. I’m not ruling it out and I’m not ruling it in.”
Koppell said he thinks he would have the support of his homebase Ben Franklin Democratic Reform Club, where redistricting made Klein a newbie club member. Then again, Koppell sponsoring the bill that allowed three terms for the mayor and council bruised a lot of club members feelings toward Ollie.
As for Klein’s fairly strong lower Westchester part of the district, Koppell called it a “a very small part of the district.”
“We’re talking about a Democratic Primary, and Democrats deciding whether they’re going to support a Democrat or a Republican,” said Koppell. “Klein may protest he’s a Democrat, but I don’t think you’re a Democrat when you keep the Republicans in power in the Senate.
“So you’re seriously weighing?” we asked.
“Yes, yes I am. I think there are a lot of people out there who are very upset with what Klein has done.”
Klein, who’s been pushing former Westchester Assemblyman Richard Brodsky to run against Dem Conference leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and threatening to back other primary challengers, pretty much scoffed at a Koppell challenge.
“The IDC will do everything possible to maintain the successes of our coalition government,” said Klein, “including challenging Democratic incumbents.”
Now ex-Democratic mayoral candidate Erick Salgado, not even on pollsters’ radar, joining ex-Bronx Boro Prez/ex-Dem/Independence Party mayoral wannabe Adolfo Carrion Jr. at City Hall on Primary eve to push for a voter turnout, with a press release stating: “Carrion could face Salgado in November with a Salgado win in either the primary or October 1st runoff.”
Note to Mark Escoffery-Bey, who challenged Boro Prez Ruben Diaz Jr.: next campaign, make sure to fix your YouTube video with that headline “We need qaulity [sic] education.”
THE FAT LADY
Late Bronx goil Elaine Kaufman, she of the famed and now (sob!) former famous Upper East Side watering hole, lives on through the Table 4 scholarship foundation, which awards $2,500 to worthy up-and-coming writers each year – but no bar tabs or pasta bolognese.
The Bronx Council on the Arts would be a great place to look for said writers. Otherwise, other aspiring Hemingways and Dorothy Parkers should go to www.table4.org/grants/. Filing deadline is Oct. 20.
Sept. 14 – Ben Franklin Reform Democratic Club president Ellen Feld
Sept. 15 – Wildlife Conservation Society VP John Calvelli
Sept. 16 – Betty Joan Persky, otherwise known as Lauren Bacall
Sept. 17 – Anna Maria Louisa Italiano of Throggs Neck – Anne Bancroft (1931 – 2005)