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Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Campaign diary

Riverdale is epicenter of Klein-Koppell contest in final days

By Shant Shahrigian
Posted
Photo by Osjua A. Newton
State Sen. Jeff Klein welcomes concertgoers to a Tony Orlando performance he sponsored at Seton Park on Aug. 28.
Photo by Osjua A. Newton
Oliver Koppell greets visitors to the same concert at the park entrance.
Photo by Osjua A. Newton
State Senate Candidate Robert Jackson, left, is literally running for office across the Broadway Bridge to a Marble Hill campaign stop.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Earlier in August, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat greets Marble Hill constituents.
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At an Aug. 28 concert hosted by state Sen. Co-majority Leader Jeff Klein at Seton Park, the senator’s political allies went onstage to tell hundreds of attendees to vote for the incumbent at next week’s Democratic primary.

Paces away from the large, temporary stage, Mr. Klein’s challenger, former Councilman Oliver Koppell, greeted people and asked for their support as they entered the park.

After weeks of exposure to the bitter contest, some attendees showed symptoms of campaign fatigue.

“I keep getting their fliers in the mail all the time,” Susan Guzman, a senior citizen who declined to give her age, said after campaign workers tried to give her literature. “I haven’t picked them up here. Save your paper; I have them in the mail.”

Ms. Guzman, a volunteer at Riverdale Senior Services, said she was undecided about the Tuesday, Sept. 9 vote, and that the concert was unlikely to sway her opinion one way or the other.

But for Tom Miller of Greystone Avenue,  getting a chance to see performer Tony Orlando for free nudged him toward Mr. Klein.

“I’m not going to vote for someone because of this, but I’ll look at him a little more favorably,” said Mr. Miller, 49.

During remarks before the concert, Mr. Klein did not explicitly mention the upcoming ballot, but his allies were not shy about encouraging people to vote for him.

“September 9th is election day,” Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. told the crowd. “I’m going to tell you, there’s no better partner, no better individual for the Bronx than state Senator Jeff Klein.”

Councilman Andrew Cohen and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz also gave short speeches praising Mr. Klein for sponsoring the concert — part of a series with 11 total performances and four movie screenings —  before the senator introduced the singer and his band.

“This is your taxpayer dollars coming back into the Bronx,” the senator said. “This is our opportunity to enjoy our neighborhoods. This is our opportunity to sit with family and friends.”

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