Last night, Capital Tonight's Liz Benjamin interviewed Gustavo Rivera, the Democratic candidate who is all but assured victory in the general election on Nov. 4 after he beat Pedro Espada in the 33rd Senate District Democratic primary.
Rivera is currently campaigning for upstate Democratic state senate candidates Susan Savage, Mary Wilmot and Joanne Yepsen, in an effort to retain the Dems' majority. All three are challenging Republican incumbents.
In one of the more interesting exchanges, Benjamin asks Rivera if he thinks it will be tough to get upstate Democrats elected because Democrats dominate downstate, i.e. New York City, and upstate voters feel like their voices aren't being heard. Rivera responds by saying upstate needs will be better served with a stronger Democratic majority that includes upstate representatives. Because of the bitter partisan divide in Albany, the party's rarely engage each other. Therefore, Rivera says, the best way to get upstate issues on the agenda is to get Democrats upstate elected.
One other note on the interview: Rivera says he's now referring to Espada as "Mr. Past Tense."
One other note on the general election: I spoke with John McCarthy on Wednesday. McCarthy was the Republican candidate in the 33rd Senate District.
First of all, he didn't even know he was the candidate until he received a notice in the mail from the Board of Elections. Republicans had simply put him on their petition and entered him as a candidate without telling him. Secondly, I say he "was" the candidate because, he says, his name will no longer appear on the ballot after he had some insiders pull a couple of strings down at the BOE.
Final note on Capital Tonight: We're a big fan of Benjamin's work. Tune in to her show tonight for a wrap up of all the debates going on, including showdowns for attorney general and governor.