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Saturday, February 6, 2016
Primary '14

Klein outruns Koppell in petition competition

By Shant Shahrigian
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Assemblyman Jefrey Dinowitz holds thousands of petitions at the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club on Monday.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Former Riverdale Councilman Oliver Koppell stands with his wife Lorraine Coyle Koppell as she readies to deliver petitions to the Board of Elections in Albany.

State Sen. Co-Majority Leader Jeff Klein called on the range of clubs and elected officials who have endorsed him across his wide district to help garner nearly twice as many petition signatures as his challenger, Riverdale’s former Councilman Oliver Koppell.

Mr. Klein’s campaign reported filing 9,000 petitions with the State Board of Election on Monday. Mr. Koppell’s campaign said it filed 5,009 petitions. The candidates needed 1,000 signatures from registered Democrats to get on the September primary ballot.

“This illustrates my support in every corner of the district,” Mr. Klein said in a statement. “It’s tremendously gratifying when 9,000 Democrats want you to be the standard bearer of the party.”

A Klein spokesperson said the senator gained about 2,300 petition signatures from the 81st assembly district covering Riverdale, thanks to efforts by volunteers from the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club. Earlier this year, the powerful group endorsed Mr. Klein over Mr. Koppell, a longtime leader of the club, at an emotionally charged meeting.

Mr. Koppell’s wife Lorraine Coyle Koppell, who has played an active role in the campaign, said the former councilman gained 3,110 petition signatures from the 81st assembly district.

“Obviously I’m better known in the western part of the district,” Mr. Koppell said. “The reception was uniformly pleasant and to tell you the truth, I thought it was welcoming.”

Mr. Koppell’s underdog campaign held a small sending-off ceremony for Ms. Koppell as she prepared to take a train to Albany to drop off four volumes of petitions on Monday morning.

“I know it sounds crazy, but you don’t want to risk an accident or a delay of any kind,” Ms. Koppell said. “So I’m taking the train, and hopefully there won’t be any accidents or delays of any kind.”

A Klein spokesperson said another staffer took his petitions to Albany, but there was no ceremony beforehand.

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