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Monday, July 19, 2010

Momentum Builds for Rivera as Pressure Mounts For Others to Drop Out

As the political stars appear to be aligning in support of Gustavo Rivera's bid to topple incumbent Pedro Espada, Jr. in the 33rd Senate District, fellow Espada challengers Daniel Padernacht and Fernando Tirado refused to go along with the program.

"Unless something dramatically changes by midnight, I'm staying in the race," Padernacht said.

Candidates have until midnight tonight to drop out of the race without their names appearing on the ballot. After that, if the candidates' petition signatures hold up -- they need the signatures of at least 1,000 unique registered Democratic voters -- then their names will be on the ballot.

Common political handicapping says more challengers will favor Espada in the primary. And Rivera is gaining momentum as the most politically and institutionally supported challenger.

He compiled the most signatures of any challenger -- 6,200, he says. He has the most political endorsements, including Councilman Oliver Koppell who announced his support earlier today in front the Amalgamated Houses. And he recently received backing from deep-pocketed, anti-Espada Democrat Bill Samuel's New Roosevelt Initiative as well the Working Families Party.

Padernacht said he's received numerous calls since Friday asking him to step down and let Rivera take on Espada one-on-one for the Democratic ticket.

Specifically, Padernacht says he's received pressure from SEIU 1199 (the healthcare workers union) and the office of Public Advocate (and former Councilman) Bill de Blasio, one of the city's rising Democratic stars. Neither SEIU or de Blasio's office could be reached for comment.

Padernacht said he was not convinced by the arguments being made for him to get out of the race, the primary one being that if he stays in, he will take away votes needed to beat Espada.

"I don't agree with their numbers," he said, adding that he thought there would be a higher turnout for this race than the one in 2008 because there will be much more interest. That race pitted Espada against indicted (and facing trial on corruption charges) Efrain Gonzalez. Espada won, with a little less than 5,000 votes out of of a total of 8,352.

Tirado, the district manager of Community Board 7 (who is on forced leave while working on the campaign), said Rivera asked him on Saturday, during the annual summer barbecue on Mosholu Parkway put on by the Committee of 100 Democrats, if he would step down in the interest of the community and the ouster of Espada.

Tirado who has raised about $2,000 (compared to Rivera's $60,000-plus), said he had not received calls from any outside politicians or organizations. But he said Rivera told him that he was officially challenging his petition signatures.

(Tirado says he has more than 1,500, while Padernacht, who says he's also being challenged by three different people -- but doesn't know who -- says he has around 4,500. Earlier today, Rivera said he wasn't sure if or who he would be challenging.)

"I told [Rivera], 'This is the democratic process and if you feel strongly about it [you should let it take its course]," Tirado said. If others called, he said he would tell them the same thing: he's staying in the race.

Padernacht, who said he had a long, cordial talk with Tirado at the barbecue on Saturday, agreed, adding that calls for him to step down wreaked of political cynicism. "If I accept their view, I'm accepting a cynical pessimistic view of our community."

At the press conference this afternoon with Koppell (more on this later), Rivera brushed off concerns that a more crowded race would hurt his chances at victory, but he added that all the challengers could agree on one thing: Espada needed to go.


  1. Rivera will emerge as the main opponent but everyone has a right to stay in if they so choose...they should be prepared for the scorn that awaits however if Espada ends up winning because they split the vote.

  2. Padernacht and Tirado should drop out. They're not going to win and they'll be proving nothing other than they will be blamed for having that creep in office for a another two years. Padernacht is unknown and Tirado is a rank amateur. They ought to disappear for now and get behind a movement to get this guy out. This is about something that's a lot larger than their own personal political agendas.

  3. If Mr. Padernacht wants to battle cynicism and pessimism in the community -- how about telling us what you stand for? All I can gather from the record is that Padernacht is against the repeal of vacancy de-control. Not surprising given his family's real estate connections. As far as I am concerned -- that is a huge strike against. The NYS Senate will be facing a host of landlord/tenant issues in this next session. I want someone pro-tenant down the line -- most importantly the repeal of vacancy decontrol. Beyond his corruption -- the worst thing Espada has done in office is block progressive, pro-tenant legislation. We don't need another lackey for the landlords.

    Another big issue for me is marriage equality. The Senate will surely face this issue and we have a real chance at joining neighboring states in providing equal access to marriage for same-sex couples. Can we count on your vote for marriage equality, Mr. Padernacht?

    Continuing silence on real issues is unacceptable and cynical.

  4. I'm not really sure where Dan stands on the major issues and his website doesn't make it clear...Dan, where do you stand on issues like tenant rights, charter schools, the Armory, job production, and affordable housing?

  5. On Padernacht's personal Facebook page he "likes" the campaign of Luis Sepulveda, who is running for Assembly. Selpulveda is closely allied with Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., who, of course is closely allied with Pedro. Mr. Sepulveda was, according to a NY Times article of February 2, 1996, a lawyer for Pedro G. Espada (the Senator's son) and ran Senator Espada's 1994 campaign. Not saying this proves anything -- but these connections, combined with Mr. Padernacht's strong real estate ties, makes me wonder if he is not in the race simply to siphon some votes to help Pedro Espada. He should at least explain his connections to Sepulveda, Sen. Espada's campaign manager from 1994.

  6. It could not be more clear that Daniel Padernacht is being supported in this race clandestinely by the same people that support Pedro Espada. It could not be more clear why: Espada hopes to hold on by having Padernacht pull away as much of the white vote in riverdale from Rivera as possible, thus handing Espada a victory.

    Check out who has contributed to Padernacht. Connect the dots...he is an Espada plant.

    The good people of the 33rd district should expose him for the fraud that he is.


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