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Friday, August 1, 2014

MoveOn petition urges: run, Ollie, run

By Shant Shahrigian
Posted

More than 1,300 people in the Bronx and beyond have signed a MoveOn.org petition urging former Riverdale Councilman G. Oliver Koppell to act on his repeated statements he might challenge state Sen. Co-Majority Leader Jeff Klein in the September Democratic primary.

Three constituents in the district Mr. Koppell represented until he was term limited out in December started the letter on the progressive non-profit website between Saturday, March 15 and Sunday, March 16.

One of the organizers, lawyer and community activist Jack Marth of Van Cortlandt Village, said after the petition garnered about 200 votes from people in Mr. Klein’s 34th senate district and beyond over the course of several days, MoveOn.org promoted the document on its popular homepage. The petition has since gained hundreds of signatures from people in the rest of the state and the country.

“Showing support statewide, I think, is a great thing,” Mr. Marth said. “These are people who by signing are saying they really want to see this happen and many of them would do things to help the campaign.”

Another petition organizer, political science professor Margaret Groarke, reiterated the document’s message that Mr. Klein’s coalition with state Senate Republicans is a disservice to 34th-district voters who want a traditional Democrat to represent them.

“I think it’s important that a real Democrat challenge someone who has run for office as a Democrat and then caucused with the Republicans,” the Kingsbridge Heights resident said. “I think there has to be a consequence for that.”

Mr. Klein has co-ruled the state Senate since his small breakaway group of Democrats, the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), formed a power-sharing majority with the legislative body’s Republicans in December 2012.

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