|From left to right: former State Comptroller Carl McCall, Rev. Al Sharpton and Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter at a rally today for Gustavo Rivera (photo by Jeanmarie Evelly)|
He was joined by former New York State Comptroller Carl McCall and former candidate Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter at a rally in East Tremont, organized by the New Roosevelt Initiative, an Anti-Espada reform group.
Sharpton caused an excited stir in nearby apartment Twin Parks East, where he shook hands and posed for photos with residents. He told the crowd he's known Rivera since his own presidential run back in 2004, calling him "a real reformer." Espada, he said, "cuts deals against the interests of our community." Watch the clip below for his full statement.
Rev. Sharpton Endorses Gustavo Rivera from Jeanmarie Evelly on Vimeo.
Carl McCall also made the rounds, shaking hands with passersby and telling them to hit the polls for Rivera next week.
"I've known Espada for a long time," said McCall, who was the State Comptroller from 1993 to 2002 and was also a state senator during the late 1970s. "I've only known Rivera for a short time, but I've been really impressed with him. Mr. Espada has not been someone to help move things forward--what he did last summer was terrible."
Pilgrim-Hunter--who was running against Espada and Rivera this spring before dropping her bid at the end of July--called Espada a "blight on the community." (Another candidate, lawyer Dan Padernacht, also dropped out of the race just this past weekend, and has also endorsed Rivera.)
"I'm asking every one of you to follow me into those voting booths and cast your vote for Gustavo Rivera," Pilgrim-Hunter told the crowd. "Rivera is actually going to stand here and be accountable to us."
Bill Samuels, who founded and heads the New Roosevelt Initiative, praised Pilgrim-Hunter for her support.
"She took the courageous step, in a race she could have won, to support Gustavo. We all owe you a lot of respect for that," he said. Samuels also said he wasn't surprised by Padernacht's recent announcement to end his campaign, calling it "the right decision."
With Padernacht out, Rivera faces the embattled Espada in what promises to be a close race.