Klein kicks off campaign
By Shant Shahrigian
It looks like political observers are not the only people who got impatient waiting for former Councilman G. Oliver Koppell to announce whether or not he will challenge state Sen. Co-Majority Leader Jeff Klein in this fall’s Democratic primary.
Mr. Klein officially kicked off his campaign for reelection on Tuesday, even though as of press time, Mr. Koppell was yet to make good on previous promises he will announce his own intentions after Easter, which took place on Sunday.
The campaign launch kept up the momentum from an important visit to Riverdale by Mayor Bill de Blasio thanking Mr. Klein for his help with universal preschool on Monday.
The Tuesday event at a backyard near Mr. Klein’s home in Morris Park featured official endorsements from: Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.; Bronx Democratic Committee Chairman and Assemblyman Carl Heastie; Assemblymen Michael Benedetto, Marcos Crespo, Mark Gjonaj, Jose Rivera and Luis Sepulveda; Council Members Vanessa Gibson, Annabel Palma, Ritchie Torres and James Vacca; former Borough President Fernando Ferrer and former Riverdale Councilwoman June M. Eisland.
While Ms. Eisland preceded Mr. Koppell on the City Council, her endorsement of Mr. Klein will not necessarily deliver a strong sting since the two politicians’ ties were not viewed as close.
The range of endorsements show the depth of Mr. Klein’s relationships with Bronx Democrats. Mr. Diaz is often a voice for where the group stands as a whole. Mr. Ferrer said he helped catalyze the Senator’s career by appointing him to a Community Board while Mr. Ferrer was Borough President.
According to a press release from Mr. Klein’s campaign, the Senator emphasized his ties to the borough, describing how his family shaped his politics from an early age. Mr. Klein also touted his recent legislative accomplishments, including the 2013 SAFE Act to tighten gun control and a statewide minimum wage increase.
Two groups so far have publicly endorsed Mr. Klein: the Transportation Workers Union Local 100 and Plumbers Local 1.