Tirado’s senate campaign comes to an end

It looks like Senator Pedro Espada will have one less opponent to worry about this September.

Many felt Fernando Tirado had a real shot in his bid against Espada, but it wasn’t enough. Tirado, who took a hiatus from his post as district manager of Community Board 7 to run for Espada’s senate seat, was knocked off the ballot for the Democratic primary September 14 because he didn’t get enough petition signatures.

Tirado had run on a platform of change and grassroots politics.

By Thursday, August 5, Tirado was back at his desk on East 204th Street and had sent out an e-mail to residents informing them of his return to duty at CB 7.

“Starting today, I am back at the community board office as your district manager,” he wrote. “I want to thank everyone for their patience and I am looking forward to working with you in the coming year.”

And that was all he said at the time about the failed campaign. A week later, he opened up a bit more.

“I’m grateful for the experience; I really learned a lot about what it takes to run for office,” he said. “Of course I wish I had stayed on the ballot so that people in the district, and not the lawyers, would have had a chance to pick a great candidate.”

“One thing that was pretty disheartening,” Tirado added, “was when I was going around getting signatures, lots of people said they don’t vote.”

Speaking of voting, Tirado wouldn’t say who he would be supporting in the primary, but Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter, a local activist, had her campaign halted as well last week, leaving only two challengers left to face Espada.

The race is down to Padernacht, a lawyer and member of CB 8, and Gustavo Rivera, a former staffer for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Rivera is considered by many to have a strong chance at unseating Espada, but others have predicted that he and Padernacht will split the anti-Espada vote, ruining the chances of both and leaving the incumbent to win another term.

Both may face financial troubles, since Espada is reported to have almost triple the campaign dollars that Rivera or Padernacht has.

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