Council Member Maria Baez, currently running for a third term in office, could face her strongest challenge from Yesenia Polanco, the chief-of-staff to Council Member Annabel Palma. We hear that Polanco's candidacy, which was only announced recently, is being supported by Democratic Party Chairman Carl Heastie and the new-look party machine. (Presumably that means access to resources and plenty of manpower come primary time.)
Heastie previously said that no door's closed; that he's willing to extend an olive branch to those he's fallen out with in the past. But the goodwill only goes so far - Baez was/is a close ally of former party boss Jose Rivera, whom Heastie defeated in what was a bitterly contested leadership fight late last year (and one that's still being played out in an appeals court).
"They're really going to go after her [Baez]," said one source close to the party.
Others hoping to topple Baez (pictured) include Fernando Cabrera, Yudelka Tapia, and another Heastie ally, Hector Ramirez (unless he's now stepped aside for Polanco). More here.
The primary will be held in September; the election in November.
UPDATE: I just spoke to Polanco. "I hope to get their [the party's] support when the time comes... probably in March or April," she said, but that it wasn't guaranteed. "Have I spoken to Carl and he's said yes? That hasn't happened."
Polanco, a 28-year-old University Heights resident, said she recently stopped working for Palma so she can concentrate on her campaign full time. At the moment she's focused on getting the unions behind her.
UPDATE 11: Patrick Jenkins, a consultant for the party and Heastie's special assistant, said his boss "isn't supporting any candidate at this moment." Jenkins said the party would look at each individual carefully (including Baez) before deciding who to endorse.
(Photo by Rebecca Chao)