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Friday, August 1, 2014
Political arena

Seismic shift in NW Bronx

By Shant Shahrigian
Posted

Koppell nets endorsement

Momentum for a coveted endorsement from the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club went to state Sen. Co-Majority Leader Jeff Klein when leading members of the group voiced their support for him last week. But a small neighborhood group’s decision to endorse Mr. Koppell shows he still has significant support as he challenges Mr. Klein in the September Democratic primary.

Northwest Bronx for Change announced its endorsement of Mr. Koppell on May 15. An organizer said many members of the roughly 50-strong group are also part 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.

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.

The move might sway other members of the Ben Franklin Club, which meets on Thursday, May 22 to decide who, if anyone, to endorse for the 34th senate district seat. But the decision by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Councilman Andrew Cohen and other high-ups in the club to endorse Mr. Klein suggests that a seismic shift in the political culture of the northwest Bronx —away from the old-school progressivism of Mr. Koppell and toward the unique vision of Mr. Klein — has already happened.

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