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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bronx Elections: The Rundown

While there's been no shortage of talk about the candidates running in the 33rd State Senate District--the seat currently occupied by Pedro Espada, Jr.--we thought we'd provide a rundown of who's competing in myriad other local races.

Here's a synopsis of Bronx candidates who've filed petitions with the City and the State Board of Elections. These might not necessarily be the names you'll see on the ballot this fall, as a candidate's signatures petition can get thrown out for a number of reasons if it's challenged by an opponent. The deadline for challenging a candidate who filed was July 19, and the final primary ballot will be set August 9 after the signatures are reviewed.

The state's primary will be held on Sept. 14, while the general election will be Nov. 2. Not registered to vote yet? You have until Aug. 20 to register to vote in the primary, and until Oct. 8 for the general election. Visit this site or call 1-800-FOR-VOTE to have a registration form sent to you.

Read more after the jump to see our list.

Office: U.S. Senate

Current U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will seek to retain her seat in a 2-year term special election. She was appointed by Governor Paterson last January to fill the spot vacated by Hillary Clinton, who left the post to become President Obama's Secretary of State.

Gillibrand faces two challengers in the September primary--fellow Democrats Gail Goode and Joseph Huff have both filed. Goode, a lawyer and former Bronx assistant district attorney, is said to have filed some 45,000 signatures last week, though candidates are required to collect only 15,000. Three Republican contenders are also vying for Gillibrand's seat: Bruce Blakeman, David Malpass and Joseph J. DioGuardi are on the list.

Our other U.S. Senator, Chuck Schumer, is running for re-election to a six-year term. He's stockpiled a hefty $24 million in campaign cash so far, though the race is not expected to be competitive.  Possible contenders include Democrat Randolph A. Credico and two Republican candidates, 
Gary Berntsen and Jay Townsend.

Office: U.S. House of Representatives
(Click here for a map of U.S. Congressional Districts in the Bronx)

In District 17, which covers a large portion of the northern Bronx, long-time Democratic incumbent Eliot Engel will face possible Republican candidates Anthony Mele and York Kleinhandler. Mele, of Rockland County, is an army vet identified with the conservative Tea Party movement. Engel has been in Congress since 1989, and often has a primary challenger, but not this year.

Joseph Crowley, whose 7th Congressional District covers the eastern Bronx and Hunts Point, will run against Chidi Akoma in the Democratic primary, while Republican Kenneth Reynolds also takes a shot at his seat.

Congressman Jose E. Serrano, whose 16th District covers the south Bronx, will run against  Republican Frank Della Valle. Serrano has held his position for over 20 years.

Office: State Senate 
(Check this map to see what district your neighborhood is in)

State Senator Jose M. Serrano (son of Congressman Jose E. Serrano, above) has two primary  challengers in the 28th District (west Bronx and Mott Haven): Yma B. Rodriguez and Mark Escoffery-Bey, a Morris Heights resident. Republicans Jon Girodes and Keesha S Weiner are also running for that seat.

There's an open seat in the 31st District, which includes Riverdale, as current Senator Eric Schneiderman is running for Attorney General. The race got crowded quickly, with six Democratic contenders: Francesca M. Castellanos, Adriano Espaillat, Rafael Figuereo, Mark Levine, Anna Lewis and Miosotis Munoz. Here's a little more background on some of the candidates. Also running are Republican Stylo Sapaskis and Conservative Raphael M. Klapper.

The Rev. Ruben Diaz, Sr. is being challenged in his 32nd District by Carlos Charlie Ramos Jr., a Bronx liaison to former Comptroller Bill Thompson. Ramos has been endorsed by Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club and the NYC LGBT Chamber of Commerce (Diaz, Sr. is a conservative Democrat known for opposing gay rights). Conservative Michael E. Walters will also run.

The race in the 33rd District, arguably this season's most watched, has embattled incumbent Pedro Espada, Jr., facing three democratic challengers in September: lawyer Daniel A Padernacht, political aide Gustavo Rivera and Community Board 7 district manager Fernando P Tirado. We surveyed the candidates about a number of important issues--here are their responses (Espada declined to participate in the survey). Republican John E. McCarthy will also run in November.

State Senator Jeffrey Klein in the 34th District  has no Democratic primary opponent and will run against Republican Frank V. Vernuccio, Jr. in the general election.

In the 36th District, which covers the northeast Bronx and West Farms neighborhood, incumbent Ruth Hassell-Thompson has a primary challenger in Democrat Crystal Wade. Republican Robert Diamond will compete in the general election.

Office: State Assembly
(Click here to see a map of Bronx Assembly Districts)

Peter Rivera in the 76th District is up against lawyer Luis Sepulveda in the primary. Sepulveda made headlines recently for mailing out fliers that accused Rivera of misusing campaign funds.  In November, Steven Stern will run as a Republican.

Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson in the 77th District will face Niyyirrah El in the Democratic primary. Republican Tanya Carmichael and Conservative Robert Marrero are also running in this district.

Attorney and retired NYPD officer Sergio Villaverde, of Kingsbridge Heights, will challenge Assemblyman and former party boss Jose Rivera in the 78th District primary. Republican William J. Sullivan will also make a run for this seat in November.

In the 79th District, Assembly Michael Benjamin will not seek reelection. District leader Eric Stevenson appears to be running unopposed in the primary (more on Stevenson, who comes from a family of Bronx politicians, here.) Republican Deborah Benbow and Conservative Henry Bonet Jr. are running in November. (Benjamin announced in May that he wouldn't run for re-election, flirting with the idea of a run for Congress, which he's since dropped.)

Two candidates are running in the Democratic primary against incumbent Naomi Rivera in the 80th District: Robert Giuffre and Julio Munoz. We'll have more on this race soon, so stay tuned. Republican Joseph DeLuna and Conservative Robert Goodman will run against the winner.

Assemblyman and Bronx Democratic Committee chairman Jeffrey Dinowitz has no Democratic opponent, but will run against Republican Joseph McLaughlin in the general election.

Michael Benedetto has two primary challengers in the 82nd District, facing fellow Democrats Rafael Dominguez and Herbert Moreira-Brown. Republican Michael Rendino will run in November.

Bronx Democratic Party chairman Assemblyman Carl Heastie has no primary challengers in his 83rd District, but will face Conservative Patrick McManus in November.

Israel Martinez challenges incumbent Carmen Arroyo in the 84th District primary. Roseline Nieves will run as a Republican in November.

In the 85th District, Marcos Crespo, who won Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr's vacated seat in a special election last year, has a primary opponent in Israel Cruz. Leopold Paul, who Crespo defeated for the seat last year, will run as a Republican, and Arturo Santiago Jr. as a Conservative in the general election.

Incumbent Nelson Castro could face a tough primary against challenger Hector Ramirez, an accountant who has won the backing of the Heastie and the County Democrats. Republican Rene Santos and Conservative Lisa Marie Campbell are also running.


  1. The frontrunner on the Republican side for the 17th district is Bronx native York Kleinhandler. Kleinhandler won the Republican, Conservative and Independence Parties' nomination conventions in all three counties (Bronx, Rockland and Westchester)and contrary to what his opponents say, he has Tea Party support. Additionally, he has support from veteran's groups, the Republican Hispanic Assembly, the New York Young Republicans and is not on the far right fringe of the right wing in terms of ideology.

  2. Lets go Kenneth Reynolds!

    make Joe Crowley crole out!!

  3. It's funny how Ryan confirms the claim that York Kleinhandler has the Conservative nod in all three counties when just recently I was personally told by the Bronx Conservative Party head that no decision was made in the 17th District race. About what else are they lying? And an expose has shown that the Republican nomination process was deliberately corrupted in all three counties to assure that Kleinhandler was given their nod. Kleinhandler also does NOT have Tea Party support as he is too far Left to win them over. Republican operatives have hijacked the name Tea Party in order to claim he has that movement's support. Kleinhandler is pro abortion, says both Parties need to move to the Center & describes himself as a social moderate who would have no trouble working with Congressional Democrats. Because of all this PLUS his involvement in illegal insurance activities that preyed upon senior citizens in Florida (and trying to buy his way out of the resulting Federal lawsuit), his campaign is in trouble. He has responded to this by violating the code of military honor to denigrate Tony Mele's service record because Mele did not serve in actual combat. In spite of every obstacle thrown at him, Tony Mele is more the front runner and voter favorite than Kleinhandler. If he wasn't, the Kleinhandler camp would not have had to resort to tricks like Mele supporting committee voter disenfranchisement and Al Franken like fake proxy votes to award their candidate the Republican nomination.

  4. I hope jv is getting paid by the Mele campaign because he is carrying their campaign line pretty well.

    Last time I checked, the POW Network, the organization that has raised questions about Mr. Mele's service is an independent organization that exposes those who have embellished their military records. http://www.pownetwork.org/phonies/phonies1236.htm. I'm not aware of their supporting Mr. Kleinhandler nor am I aware of their desire to get involved in politics.

    The Florida lawsuit issue is nothing more than a garbage political trick. I know this is true because the lawsuit had no merit and Mr. Mele's attempt at making it an issue only showed how little Mr. Mele and his friends know about the insurance industry, lawsuits in the corporate world, and running a political campaign.

    I suggest that jv checks his candidate's position on abortion again. There is video of him saying he supports the law of the land. Oddly enough, this is the same position that Mr. Kleinhandler has stated. At least Mr. Kleinhandler does not go around claiming to be pro-life to rally the right wing base while also claiming to be for the law of the land. Sounds like another case of someone trying to say "I voted for it, before I voted against it". Just to clarify, the overarching law of the land is that abortion is legal.

    I hope everyone reading this realizes that the Tea Party is made up of many different groups and is not just one organization? You can belittle Mr. Kleinhandler's Tea Party support all you want, it only serves to damage the credibility of the entire Tea Party movement. But at least Mr. Kleinhandler's Tea Party support is not rooted in a Tea Party group he helps run at the organizational level. Mr. Mele is one of the organizers of the local Tea Party that supports him so claiming this as the basis for his Tea Party support is like saying he's been endorsed by his mom and dad.

    As for support from the different political parties, everyone can see that Mr. Mele is acting like a sore loser. If you don't like the process the parties used to select their candidates, show up to fix the system. Don't just complain from the sidelines after the fact. From what I can tell, each candidate had an opportunity to present themselves before the parties in one way or another. Kleinhandler won, get over it.

  5. Although this is a comprehensive rundown, your article has underscored the level of support that Carlos “Charlie” Ramos, Jr.'s candidacy has to date received from the LGBT community. You’ve cited information from a two month old article from Examiner.com, stating the then recent endorsements by Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club and the NYC LGBT Chamber of Commerce. I am pleased to report to your readers that subsequently, Charlie has been endorsed by Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, Marriage Equality New York, Empire State Pride Agenda, HRC’s Campaign for NY Marriage, Democracy for New York City and New York City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez.

    I believe that our seven organizations and Councilwoman Mendez are in agreement that the 32nd Senatorial District deserves not to be represented by a homophobic zealot, who may not even reside in the borough. We encourage Bronx constituents to get out to vote on September 14, to ensure that Charlie Ramos is the progressive Democrat sent to represent them in Albany in 2011.

    Joseph G. Hagelmann, III
    Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City

  6. Ryan, I happen to work in the insurance business and the way you portray the Kleinhandler lawsuit is way off base. This case was not treated as a baseless complaint but was in fact settled. And as far as the POW network, the information provided to them was altered by whomever submitted it. They do not randomly seek out "phonies" on their own. An individual goes to them and submits what they claim the individual is or is not saying about their military background. They make a donation to help defray costs and then the couple who manages the website does their research. The information submitted to them was altered and if you expect people to think that this was a coincidence that it happened around the time that Tony Mele is campaigning for Congress for the 17th district, then, I have a really great bridge that I'd like to sell someone. One of your operatives by the code name M Brown posted this website on Prutube with Mele's video's referring people to that website during July 4th weekend and the website shows that the information was posted on there on 6/30. M Brown just so happened to be looking at the website on that weekend and spotted this information?

    Lastly, Kleinhandler "won" by less than 1% of the delegates. And had there not been things done such as sending out information to some people with the wrong date for the Republican Convention, etc. there would have been a different outcome.

    If Kleinhandler's supporters are so confident that Kleinhandler has it in the bag and everyone is behind him, why the smear campaign? You should be riding the wave and not concerned. So the question is, why are you so concerned?


  7. We are please that NYC LGBT Chamber of Commerce was the 1st to come on board and support Carlos "Charlie" Ramos! for the 32nd Senatorial District in the Bronx...Go Charlie!!

  8. Go Michael Benedetto! Stomp the competition!


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