Barring some dark-horse candidate emerging from the Republican Party, it looks like Ari Espinal will replace Councilman Francisco Moya in the Assembly for the time being.
The Democratic Party announced it was supporting Espinal over Catalina Cruz in the special election on April 24, taking the step that drives good government groups wild with regard to special elections.
Rather than letting voters decide who should represent the Democratic Party, as is done in primary elections, in a special election leaders of the Democratic Party get to decide who will get their line on the ballot, bypassing the voters altogether.
And given the overwhelming advantage in registered voters that the Democratic Party enjoys in New York City coupled with the underwhelming voter turnout that will occur in an April special election, it’s all but inevitable that Espinal will win.
All you have to do is read the quote from the Congressman Joseph Crowley, who chairs the Queens Democratic Party, announcing the endorsement to realize that there isn’t miuchpretense that Espinal is headed to Albany.
“The Queens Democratic Party is proud to support Ari Espinal to represent the 39th District in the Assembly,” Crowley said. “Ari will be a fierce advocate for Queens families and I look forward to working with her.”
So Cruz will have to wait until September to run in the primary before November’s general election if she still wants a shot at the seat. But at that time she’ll have to deal with unseating an incumbent – albeit one with only about five months of experience – who will at least have some sort of record in the legislative body to tout.
Democracy in action!
Speaking of endorsements, the Working Families Party has announced that it is supporting challengers to three of the members of the State Senate’s breakaway Independent Democratic Conference.
They include Rachel May, who is challenging David Valesky of upstate New York, Alessandra Biaggi who is challenging IDC top dog Jeff Klein of the Bronx, and Jessica Ramos, a former aide to Mayor Bill de Blasio who is running against Jose Peralta of Queens.
“Time is up for Trump Democrats,” said WFP director Bill Lipton. “For seven consecutive budgets, the IDC-GOP coalition has put the interests of real estate developers and hedge fund managers ahead of women, tenants, straphangers, and students.”
Having the support of the Working Families Party is nice, but it remains to be seen how much support the candidates will get from the heads of the Democratic Party, who have a fine line to walk.
Of course, they should have an interest in getting the breakaway members of their conference out of office and replaced with someone who will caucus with the other members of the Democratic Party.
On the other hand, these challengers are going up against longtime and, in many circles, very popular incumbents. While the Democratic Party would like to see the IDC members out of office, they also don’t want to lose face by backing a candidate who could potentially lose in a landslide in a primary.
And let’s not leave the Republicans out of this endorsement roundup!
Last week, Queens Conservative Party chairman Tom Long announced that his political party would be backing Dan DeBono for Congress in the 3rd Congressional District, which includes portions of northeast Queens and Nassau County.
Democrat Tom Suozzi currently holds the seat.
DeBono, a former Navy SEAL and a lifelong resident of Northport, seems like competent challenger, but will he be able to overcome the advantage the Democrats enjoy in the voter rolls?