Political arena

Rangel beats Espaillat in fundraising so far

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Unofficial figures from Rep. Charles Rangel and his main Democratic primary challenger, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, show the incumbent has raised $42,000 more than his rival so far this year. The underdog in the race, Rev. Michael Walrond, reported raising far less money than either.

Before the latest campaign finance figures became available on the Federal Election Committee’s website, a spokesman for Mr. Rangel’s campaign said the congressman has received $272,000 in donations since his late December announcement that he will seek a 23rd term in Congress. The spokesman added that gives Mr. Rangel $223,000 in cash on hand.

Mr. Espaillat released a statement saying he has received $230,000, with most of the funds coming after the official start of his campaign in February. A spokeswoman for Mr. Espaillat said he has about $220,000 in cash on hand.

The senator’s statement added that 46 percent of the donations from nearly 400 supporters came in contributions of $100 of less. The senator called that proof of major on-the-ground support for his campaign.

“I am proud of what we have been able to raise in such a short period of time,” Mr. Espaillat said in the statement.

Rev. Walrond’s campaign raised just $63,000, but sought to put a positive spin on the development.

“We knew from the get-go that our opponents would raise more than us, and that’s fine,” his campaign manager said in a statement. “What’s important here is that Mike transcends the power money has over elections.”

Bronx Dems out in force

Mr. Espaillat’s campaign is seeking to make hay out of Mr. Rangel’s lack of a strong presence in the Bronx part of the 13th congressional district. A day after the first candidates’ debate on April 10, Mr. Espaillat’s campaign released a statement criticizing the congressman for remarking he had been apprehensive after first learning of 2012 redistricting to include parts of the Bronx in his district. Mr. Espaillat also reiterated previous promises to open a district office in the Bronx, something Mr. Rangel is yet to do.

Then on Monday, Bronx Democrats came out in force to support Mr. Espaillat. Statements by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, county Democratic Party leader and Assemblyman Carl Heastie and others including the most irrepressible of Bronx boosters — Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. — contained a strong rebuff to Mr. Rangel’s Bronx credentials.

“He will fight for the people of the Bronx and for every neighborhood throughout the district. He will bring together and unite the diverse communities in every corner of the 13th CD,” Mr. Dinowitz said at a conference on the steps of the Bronx Borough Hall.

Mr. Rangel’s campaign did not reply to a request for comment on the matter as of press time.

Koppell watch continues

The waiting game to find out if former Councilman G. Oliver Koppell will challenge state Sen. Jeff Klein in this fall’s Democratic primary took a new twist on Monday. Timesunion.com’s Capitol Confidential blog quoted him as setting the period after Easter, on Sunday, April 20, as his new deadline for making an announcement. The longtime lawmaker previously said he would announce his decision after the passage of the state budget, which came at the end of March.

During a conversation last week at his office, Mr. Klein said he is taking “a victory lap” after including measures such as anti-Montefiore Medical Center legislation and money for universal preschool in the budget, delivered on time for the fourth straight year.

“I think we provide an important model for how Democrats and Republicans can get things done,” Mr. Klein said.

But during a recent interview, Mr. Koppell did not miss the chance to attack Mr. Klein — while alluding to discussions he is having with unnamed Democratic Party decision makers.

“At least for some people… what he could accomplish in the budget would say whether what he’s doing is worthwhile,” the former councilman said. “It ended up that at least up until now, he was not able to accomplish a lot in the budget. The Dream Act didn’t go anywhere. The campaign finance thing is a baloney provision. Those were two of the major objectives.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Klein has a waiting game of his own going on. He said he is still waiting to see whether his Independent Democratic Coalition will support local Westchester politician Virginia Perez in a primary challenge to state Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins along with Betty Jean Grant, who is challenging Democratic state Sen. Tim Kennedy.

Cohen takes on parking

Riverdale’s Councilman Andrew Cohen has introduced his first bill since taking office. It requires explanations of parking, stopping or standing regulations to be posted at least every 100 feet on every block in the city that is longer than 200 feet. 

Mr. Cohen said in a statement that there are no current guidelines for placing parking signs on streets.

“Trying to find parking is extremely difficult already,” he stated. “This law will require that signs are placed at regular intervals and help ensure that the parking regulations are more easily visible for motorists.”

His spokesman said his office has not yet studied the costs of implementing the bill, which went to the City Council’s Transportation Committee. But Daniel Johnson added Mr. Cohen will look at ways of making the measure fiscally feasible as the bill goes through the legislative process.

Mr. Johnson added that his office was happy about its first bill, which came around Mr. Cohen’s 100-day mark on the City Council.

“We’re certainly excited to get involved legislatively, particularly on an issue that impacts hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers on a daily basis,” Mr. Johnson said.

On a more local level, Mr. Cohen recently acted to fix parking signs on a Riverdale street. He said in a statement that at his request, the Department of Transportation recently replaced signs with incorrect information about alternate side parking on West 238th Street between Greystone Avenue and Fieldston Road.

 

Mr. Johnson said people who received tickets due to the incorrect signage are welcome to visit the councilman’s 3636 Waldo Ave. office for help on how to fight the penalties.

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