- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf Pilgrim-Hunter Ends Bid to Supplant Espada in Senate | Bronx News Networkbronx

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pilgrim-Hunter Ends Bid to Supplant Espada in Senate

Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter, the community activist who led the local fight to defeat the mayor’s plans to build a mall in the Kingsbridge Armory, told the Bronx News Network late on Tuesday that she was ending her candidacy for state Senate in the 33rd District.

“This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ll ever have to make,” she said. “In the interest of making sure that [incumbent state Senator] Pedro Espada is out of office, and also building power in my community, I’ve decided to withdraw.”

Money, or lack of it, was the main reason she decided to end her bid, she said. Despite several fundraisers in supporters’ homes, she had raised only $30,000, while Espada already has more than $300,000 on hand.

“We did a really good job of fundraising,” she said referring to the number of small donors in the community who gave to the campaign. “It wasn’t enough to be able to have an effective fight and win this race.”

Pilgrim-Hunter said that charges made by a local blog relating to her disability status, and the ensuing heated on-line debate, had nothing to do with her decision.(See our article.)

The move comes just two days before candidates are required to submit petitions to get on the ballot. Pilgrim-Hunter says she had little over 1,500 about 3,000 signatures [Pilgrim Hunter called after publication to say that an additional 1,500 signatures collected by the campaign had been brought to her attention.] but that if she didn’t withdraw prior to that deadline, then she wouldn’t be able to remove her name from the primary ballot. As much of a disappointment as it was to her and her team, she said, it would be “worse if we were instrumental in getting Pedro back in office.”

In April, Pilgrim-Hunter, 53, was the first of four Espada challengers to announce their candidacies. The RWDSU (retail workers’ union), which had worked closely with Pilgrim-Hunter on the Armory campaign, endorsed her but other influential unions like 1199 and 32BJ had yet to weigh in probably because they were waiting to see which candidate was strongest after filing petitions and financial reports. Also, the borough’s Democratic Party has yet to back anybody and may not, for fear of alienating Espada, a controversial but powerful politician who singlehandedly brought Albany screeching to a stalemate last summer when he temporarily sided with Republicans, depriving his fellow Democrats of their razor-thin majority.

Pilgrim-Hunter, a leader in the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, with whom she waged the armory battle, says she will remain active in politics but from a different angle. She wants to form a nonprofit 501-c-4 organization to work together with unions and established community organizations to “recruit strong progressive leaders that can enter into all levels of government .”

Such a group would “build community power in a political way which you can’t do as a 501(c)3,” she said. Donations to 501(c)4 groups that are not government entities are not tax-deductible. Many 501(c)3 groups form separate but affiliated 501-c-4’s for the purposes Pilgrim-Hunter describes. Both types of organizations are governed by federal tax law.

Pilgrim-Hunter hasn’t decided yet whether to endorse someone else in the race, but she said she’s clear what she wants the result of the campaign to be.

“Because the goal is to remove Pedro Espada, there has to be just one candidate that is coalesced around,” she said. “It’s clear that if it’s a one-on-one, that’s the best-case scenario. “

Pilgrim-Hunter said she’s not interested in running for elective office herself again. “It is my place to now to develop other [younger] leaders now that I know what it takes,” Pilgrim-Hunter said. “My work is in the community where it all started out. “


  1. obviously a first time candidate...because she can be knocked off the ballot or decline before July 19...there was no need to withdraw at this time

  2. This had nothing to do with Pedro's financial advantage--everyone knew he had an insurmountable war chest coming in to this race--and everything to do with the disability issue. Let's just be real here. I do applaud Ms. Hunter however for putting her ego aside and making the right decision.

  3. She finally came to her senses. Seems like North West Bronx radicals just don't have what it takes to fight in the REAL political world. First Yorman and Now Desiree. Now that shes gone lets start focusing on the real candidates.

  4. Someone must have met with her and asked that she pull out of the crowded race to keep from splitting the vote. That's all..

  5. Now all we need is for this facebook candidate Ricardo Concepcion to fall back and let the real candidates go toe 2 toe. Tirado is right around the corner from throwing in the towel.

  6. Gustavo Rivera, all the way.

  7. You mean that guy with the huge swollen black eye who switch up his story to different people about how he got it??....LMBO!!...Gustavo is another joke but i guess right now hes the go-to guy. My vote will stay away from this race.

  8. Dear Employee of Pedro Espada,

    I've heard Gustavo relate the story of how he hurt his eye publically in a room with about 50 people in it.

    I find your allegations dubious.

    Thank you,
    GR fan

  9. Well please enlighten us Mr. GR Fan.....

  10. Ms. Pilgrim-Hunter is a wonderful activist and leader which is apparent in her decision to bow out and let the strongest candidate unseat Espada. Gustavo Rivera, with or without his black eye, is the transparent, progressive, and dedicated leader that this district deserves.

  11. So Richie Rich....Are you going to officially announce your candidacy?

  12. Ricardo Concepcion stop your conspiracy theories regarding Desiree. I was not voting for, but she is not the type to do what you suggested. But one thing for sure Richie I won't be voting for you. By the way, get yourself a real website or at the very least fix up you lousy facebook. If the way you present yourself on facebook and the super late appearance is the way you do things, you real need to check yourself out, because you are not ready for a job that requires good presentation, planning and professionalism.

  13. Ricardo Concepcion is trying to run? No way. He has skeletons in the closet.

  14. The saddest part about this is that she wants to WORK and create a non-profit so that she can do XYZ. She just doesn't get it, and continues to play the "I am disabled so give me checks, but wait..I can work too, but I still want my checks."

    I say good riddance..and although the scam is prevalent in the Bronx and elsewhere, it doesn't make it right or ok.

  15. I'm proud of Desiree Pilgrim Hunter.

    Desiree entered this race when no one else was willing to run against the corrupt anti-tenant sometimes-a-Republican-sometimes-a-Democrat Pedro Espada, and when it seemed certain that the Bronx Democratic Party would ENDORSE him. Her entry into the race made other people consider it, and may even have opened up a conversation within the State Democratic Party and the Bronx Democratic Party about NOT endorsing Espada.

    Now we have to hope that one of the remaining candidates is ready to be an excellent Senator, who will represent the rights of real Bronxites on education, housing, wages, and more in Albany. We know that ain't Espada.

  16. If Desiree is serious about having Espada defeated, then she should endorse one of the candidates running against Espada.

  17. Yup... because of Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter, others had the courage to enter the Senate race. Whatever -- if she was that great of a candidate, others would have endorsed her rather than get in the race themselves. So happy to see her out of this race. We need someone with qualifications other than "she was the first to run against Espada"!

    Besides, this is definitely NOT about the money. I wonder what is behind her decision to not run?!?! Obvious, there is more, but now the NWBCC and BXNN are at less of a risk of losing their non-profit statuses.

  18. Wow the Espada people just keep hitting this website - but you are talking to yourselves.

    Any Gustavo fans trashing Ms. Pilgrim-Hunter should check in with the boss I think he would be embarrassed by you.

    Ms. Pilgrim Hunter did the right thing and the courageous thing by getting into the race when no one else was willing to go up against the Crook and she did the politically mature and the responsible thing by getting out of the race when it was clear that the Samuels independent expenditure was going to Rivera. Fair is fair - he got the nod - so the other contenders should follow her example -not because Gustavo walks on water but because we need to get rid of Espada and they risk being spoilers - that would be a sad thing for them and the rest of us to live with. It is really that simple.

  19. I proudly volunteered for Ms. Pilgrim-Hunter and I would do so again and again. She is a real grassroots leaders unlike so many of the folks posting here who can hide behind "anonymous".

    I am extremely impressed with the way she ran this campaign. She took the high road and actively discouraged her team from participation in this nasty email exchange.

    There is no question that she changed the dynamic in this race. As a career organizer I have gotten the calls and emails from other folks in the City and across the country who watch politics. This morning I heard from a hero of mine - a woman who is really a legend in her own time and who is currently leading the fight for financial reform in the US. She said:

    "These decisions are hard.
    Good to know that the candidate made a responsible decision for the use of time and resources, while having entered in to the race to promote the values and issues we all care about."

    Ms. Pilgrim Hunter was clear that being on the ballot without the money to run hard was simply not in the interst of the district or the greater good. She has put unity against Espada above other considerations and she deserves our applause.

    Mary Dailey

  20. Well....(To Mary Dailey & Margret...........).....Afterthe last 2 losing political years...............I think its time for me to follow some of my former & current NWBCCC brethern................In the 70's it was....Dont Move-Improve.................40 years later its......"Wishing The Best......TO A NEW NorthWest"

    Why does one support Desiree Pilgrim Hunter?...Many reasons...............But living IN THE neighborhood...is a good start.......UNLIKE Our current senator...........AND MANY OF THE CANDIDATES...........

    And to think that it was a NEW NEIGHBORHOOD BLOG with NEW RESIDENTS....IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD that started this mess...(Wheres my lugguge bag)

  21. Living in the neighborhood is all that it's takes to get your support? Has Espada done sinking damage that living in the community (albeit a gated community in the district in the case of Pilgrim-Hunter) all that is takes? I guess so. I guess living in the 33rd and being first is enough for some people but not me. Me, I want someone with a wealth of experience, integrity, promise, intelligence and much more. But that's just me...


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