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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Diaz Jr. Makes It Official, Wins B.P. Race

Ruben Diaz Jr., a 35-year-old career politician from Soundview, is the new Bronx Borough President.

He easily defeated his lone opponent, Anthony J. Ribustello, 42, a Republican district leader from the east Bronx known more for his role as Tony Sopranos driver in the HBO series "The Sopranos," by a wide margin. Diaz garnered 87 percent of the vote, for an unofficial total of 28,301 votes. Ribustello pulled in 4,081votes.

(On the plus side for Republicans, it could be argued that Ribustello got more bang for his buck. He spent about $1 a vote, compared to Diaz who spent about $10 a vote.)

This news comes as no surprise to those who have followed this race since last fall when Diaz emerged as the loudest and most enthusiastic candidate to replace Adolfo Carrion. At that time, it appeared Diaz would be in for a tough race with City Council majority leader Joel Rivera.

But much has changed since then. Term limits were extended through a controversial vote in the City Council. Later in the fall, the Rainbow Rebel coalition, which Diaz backed, wrested control of the Bronx Democratic party from Joel's father, Assemblyman Jose Rivera, changing the power dynamics in the borough. Then, earlier this year, Carrion took a job in Washington as Obama's urban affairs director.

In early March, Bronx Democrats united behind Diaz and Joel officially dropped out of the race, leaving Ribustello as the only challenger. In the weeks leading up to the election, Diaz was so confident, he declined more than $200,000 in public financing and announced he would tap veteran Bronx politician Aurelia Greene to be his deputy B.P.

And the rest is history. We'll have more on the race and more from our exclusive interview with Ruben Diaz Jr. later this week. Feel free to chime in with any thoughts about our new borough president.

Here's the NY Times story. Here's the Daily News story. Here's the AP story via the Post.

Final thought: Both the Times and Daily News stories mention Diaz's controversial father, Bronx State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., a Pentecostal Minister who strongly opposes gay marriage. The younger Diaz has gone to great lengths to distance himself from his father and it will be interesting to see how he treats the issue as B.P.


  1. What percentage of the Bronx voted? I heard it was a very low voter turn out.

  2. I've read that it was about 5% of the eligible voters.


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