Rivera Dodges On Koppell Endorsement
From the morning memo:
Though the Senate Democrats were reportedly encouraging of Oliver Koppell’s primary challenge against their erstwhile colleague, IDC Leader Jeff Klein, now that the former Bronx councilman is officially a candidate, not a single of them has come forward to publicly endorse him.
During an interview with Josh Robin on “Inside City Hall” Tuesday night, Koppell insisted that he will have plenty of endorsements as the campaign progresses. When pressed, he name dropped one senator in particular: Fellow Bonxite Gustavo Rivera, who is best known for ousting former Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada in a 2010 primary.
“I think we can definitely expect endorsements. But I have better endorsements,” Koppell said. “I have 10,000 people that signed the Daily Kos petition asking me to run. I have 1,500 people who signed a MoveOn petition asking me to run…hundreds and hundreds of them in my district.”
“When we get the message out, we’ll have the endorsements. We also have the endorsement, incidentally, of the Tenants PAC because they know Senator Klein is death on tenant reform. We have the endorsement of other progressive groups. You’re going to see as the campaign progresses, we’re going to have more endorsements. Gustavo Rivera, a very important force in the state Senate, defeated Espada and got rid of one of the worst examples of corruption in Albany. Gustavo Rivera is my strong supporter in this race.”
But Rivera apparently didn’t get the memo on this. He was decidedly evasive when I asked him during a CapTon interview Wednesday night whether he would be supporting Koppell against Klein, opting for the “it’s not time for politics yet” dodge, though he heaped praise on the former councilman and left the door open for a possible endorsement some time in the future.
“I think Oliver Koppell, first of all, he was one of my first and earliest supporters,” Rivera said. “He’s somebody who has been a mentor and a friend to me. Somebody that has been a leader in the state of New York, a leader in the city and a leader in the Bronx, and is somebody that I look up to.”
“And I certainly am going to answer questions and have conversations about what the politics are going to be when we get to the politics. But for the moment, I’ll just say he’s been a great friend and a great mentor, and we’ll see what happens during the summer.”
So far, Koppell’s most out spoken supporter (if you could call it that) has been the progressive Daily Kos blog, which not only launched the aforementioned petition urging him to challenge Klein, but also sent out a fundraising appeal on his behalf after he declared his candidacy on Monday, urging supporters to return the Senate to Democratic hands.
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