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|Lauren Mariotti (front, right) hands out fliers for Gustavo Rivera, while Espada supporters campaign across the street. (Photos by Jeanmarie Evelly)|
It's a turf war this morning at the corner of Mohegan Avenue and E. 179th Street, as staffers from rival campaigns in the 33rd Senate District race have staked out opposite street corners, fighting for the attention of voters heading to the polls at nearby PS 67.
Lauren Mariotti, a volunteer for Gustavo Rivera (the candidate challenging incumbent Sen. Pedro Espada, Jr.) gave a flier to one man as he walked by. The man was then immediately approached by a campaigner for Espada, who had been standing across the street.
"There's nothing on that flier that says anything Gustavo has done for the community," the staffer said, declining to give his name, and drawing on the same rhetoric that's been used as an argument against Rivera throughout this election season.
"There's been some back and forth," Mariotti said. "But it's all in good fun."
Across the street from her stood Elsie Cambero and Jessica Loaiza, both wearing t-shirts that read, "Vote Espada, Our Hero."
"He gave out fruits and school supplies, and I met him there," Cambero said, of why she got involved in the Senator's campaign. "I think he's done a lot for the community."
The turnout this morning has been "not too bad," so far, Mariotti said. There was a slow but steady stream of people heading into the school nearby.
"I've voted in every election since I was 18," said Gloria Vazquez, who said she lived about two blocks away. "I want to change to Mr. Gustavo Rivera. He's new. He said he's going to build community centers, and we need that. There are too many kids out on the street."
Another woman leaving the building after casting her vote, who did not want to give her name, was much less enthused about the democratic process.
"I just came out to vote," she said. "But I think all politicians are crooked. It doesn't really matter."