What the Race to Replace Espaillat Could Mean for the Senate

Dominican candidates Marisol Alcantara (r.) and Carmen de la Rosa (m.) are presented by Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and State Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat in Manhattan. (Photo by Mariela Lombard via El Diario)

Dominican candidates Marisol Alcantara (r.) and Carmen de la Rosa (m.), introduced by Council member Ydanis Rodriguez (right back) and State Assembly member Adriano Espaillat (left) in Manhattan. (Photo by Mariela Lombard via El Diario)

Come November, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat is poised to replace Charles Rangel as the 13th Congressional District’s representative, as the district is heavily Democratic, and become the first Dominican-Amerncan member of Congress. Whoever wins the Democratic primary Sept. 13 to take over his seat will also likely win on Election Day. However, the race to become the Democratic candidate could have major consequences in terms of control of the Senate and the billions of dollars in the state budget, writes David Howard King for Gotham Gazette.

Labor organizer Marisol Alcantara has Espaillat’s support, as well as that of the Senate Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), which she said she will join if elected. This could complicate matters for Democrats as it would establish “a scenario that may enable Senate Republicans to keep control of the chamber in a year when mainline Democrats believe they have the best chance to take power and see all major parts of state government run by the party,” writes King.

Alcantara, Espaillat and others hope enthusiasm from Dominicans and other Hispanics voting for Espaillat will mean votes for Alcantara, who is also Dominican.

Espaillat is featured heavily in Alcantara mailers that are funded by the IDC. Espaillat also recorded a robocall for Alcantara. “As an immigrant to our country just like me, Marisol Alcantara knows the importance of standing up for those without a voice,” Espaillat says on the call before asking voters to “make history” with him again by electing Alcantara. Alcantara immigrated from the Dominican Republic when she was a child.

Challengers Robert Jackson – the former City Council member allied with Assembly member Keith Wright, who received Rangel’s endorsement in the primary for the retiring Congressman’s seat and lost to Espaillat – and Micah Lasher, former chief of staff to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, have criticized Alcantara for siding with the IDC.

Read their concerns and those of mainline Democrats, and how Alcantara’s camp has responded, as well as why a victory for Jackson or Lasher would worry Espaillat, in the full story at Gotham Gazette.

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