Vito Lopez is apparently hoping his deep, loyal base of support in his Brooklyn district can help prolong his political career by propelling him to a seat in the City Council, but following his groping allegations that community support may be dwindling. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
Vito Lopez's days in the state Assembly may be numbered, but not necessarily his days in politics. Lopez is continuing his run for City Council, and among his opponents is fellow Democrat Antonio Reynoso.
"A big part of the campaign is that we inform the community on what he's done and also make sure the community knows who I am. At the end of the day, there's an alternative here," Reynoso said.
Some in the community in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn expressed shock Friday that Lopez is continuing to pursue public office.
"That's ridiculous, what they say about the allegations against him, and then he wants to run for councilman? That's crazy," said one local.
But even one of his longtime critics, Lincoln Restler of the New Kings Democrats, said the notion of Lopez as a councilman is not so far-fetched.
"He is a formidable candidate for the City Council. He has represented essentially this exact area for 30 years, has developed a nonprofit empire in this area that employs about 2,000 people," Restler said.
Lopez's district office in Williamsburg was closed for most of Friday, but almost everyone there who spoke with NY1 on Friday told of immense good that Lopez has done for the community. But just as many seem to have soured on the assemblyman.
"A lot of people do support him and believed in him, in the past. I don't know about now, after everything that's happened," said a local. "Me personally, my opinion, I don't think anybody should be in office if they're accused of something like that."
"I've lived in the community 52 years. He has some good stuff for everyone, especially the older folks. He takes them on trips in the summer. My mom is an old-aged person, he takes care of them. But he did wrong," said another local.
Others were even more eager to see an end to Lopez's political career/
"It's about time, because it's an embarrassment to the Hispanics, you know? He should have known better," said a resident.
Just how much longer that career lasts will be up to voters.