Dinowitz ally gears up for possible council run


The City Council District 11 race is shaping up.

Community Board 8 member Andrew Cohen filed a committee for City Council District 11 with the state Board of Elections last week, though he has not officially announced his candidacy. 

The move makes it seem less likely that Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz will leave his seat in the state legislature for a City Council job, since it was Mr. Dinowitz who encouraged Mr. Cohen to file. Mr. Cohen is also a member of the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club and a vice chair of the Bronx Democratic County Committee. Mr. Dinowitz is a leader of the Ben Franklin Club and is chair of the County Committee.

On Tuesday, Mr. Cohen said he is “seriously considering” running, but is currently focused on the presidential election and will not announce his decision until after Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

 “I think Barack Obama is going to have a greater impact than what I decide in this City Council race,” he said on Tuesday.

Though Mr. Dinowitz has not completely ruled out a run for Council, he said on Monday “no one should count” on him running.

“Anybody who thinks I should run, should not plan on me running. I have a great job,” he said.

Mr. Cohen is a private attorney who also teaches at John Jay College. He served as chair of CB 8’s Youth Committee until this year, when he was elected to lead the Aging Committee.

Councilman Oliver Koppell is serving his third and final term in District 11. One candidate, Cliff Stanton, has officially announced his candidacy for the seat. Mr. Stanton is treasurer of the Kingsbridge-Riverdale-Van Cortlandt Development Corporation and serves on the executive board of the PS 24 Parents’ Association.

Mr. Stanton said he wants to take on what he calls the “political establishment” of the Northwest Bronx, namely the Ben Franklin Reform Democratic Club. The club is one of the most prominent political clubs in the city and has great influence on local races. Leaders of the Ben Franklin Club will likely rally around a single candidate, which increasingly looks like it will be Mr. Cohen. CB 8’s Dan Padernacht is also a possibility, though he has not said whether he will run. He is also a member of the Ben Franklin Club and helped state Sen. Gustavo Rivera beat Pedro Espada by dropping out of that race a week before the election.