Northwest Bronx for Change, a small group of progressive activists, has endorsed Oliver Koppell in the Democratic primary race between him and state Sen. Co-Majority Leader Jeff Klein.
The Thursday endorsement came as both candidates are lobbying the neighborhood’s preeminent grassroots group, the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, ahead of that organization’s Thursday, May 22 meeting on whom — if anyone — to support in the tough contest.
A Northwest Bronx for Change organizer said many members of the roughly 50-strong group are also members of the Ben Franklin Club, which has about 300 people. The former group has frequently met at the latter’s clubhouse on West 231st Street, although the organizer, David Kornbluh, said Northwest Bronx for Change is likely to soon stop the practice to prevent confusion.
A Thursday statement from Northwest Bronx for Change said it was supporting Mr. Koppell because of the deal between Mr. Klein’s breakaway Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) and Republicans to rule the senate together. Criticism of the arrangement has formed the heart of Mr. Koppell’s campaign.
“These [IDC] senators, who switched sides, were rewarded with perks they might not have otherwise gotten, but they made a deal that hurts their constituents who want change,” the statement read. “The deal gave both Jeff Klein and the leader of the Republicans the power to block legislation from coming up for a vote in the Senate. This works out well for Wall Street and the 1% who want to block bills that would lead to changes they do not want, but it sure doesn’t work so well for the rest of us.”
Northwest Bronx for Change started up to support President Barack Obama’s first White House run, in 2008. Since then, it has hosted monthly meetings about progressive topics.
Mr. Kornbluh, a member of Northwest Bronx for Change’s steering committee, said it is rare for the group to make endorsements.