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Klein Gets Key Endorsements from Riverdale Officials

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In what's becoming a closely watched primary race across New York, state Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein got some key endorsements from officials in the Riverdale section of his district Friday, a section that his opponent, one-time State Attorney General Oliver Koppell, used to represent in the City Council. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

When Oliver Koppell got into this race, he was expecting do well in Riverdale, but on Friday, it was his opponent, Jeff Klein, standing with Riverdale's current and former elected officials, including Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, who considers Koppell his good friend and political mentor.

"Oliver Koppell has been a friend of mine for many years, and I've always supported him in his past races, and he's supported me," Dinowitz said. "Obviously, he was not very happy when I told him that I'm going to support Senator Klein."

Not very happy at all, according to Koppell, who is counting on the support of his colleagues in his race against the state Senate co-leader. So far, not a single state Senate Democrat has endorsed Koppell, including state Senator Gustavo Rivera, who Koppell has mentioned as a supporter more than once.

"You watch in the next few weeks, and you're going to see that the vast majority of the Senate Democrats, who are the ones who I will work with as a senator, will be out with me," Koppell said. "Gustavo will be with me. I have no doubt about that."

Klein split off from the Senate Democrats to form the five-member Independent Democratic Conference, or IDC, which currently controls the Senate majority in a power-sharing arrangement with Republicans.

Klein has been focusing on local issues in this race, particularly those in Riverdale.

"I've worked very, very hard in partnering with Assembly members, Council members throughout my Senate district, and I think when we move ahead into the campaign season, you;re going to see the effectiveness of working together as a team," Klein said.

"You should take note that I'm not aware of any elected official that covers any part of the district that's supporting Oliver in this race, and I expect that there won't be any," Dinowitz said.

Another key development in this primary could come next week, when the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club on West 231st Street, which plays a bit of a kingmaker role in Kingsbridge and Riverdale races, decides whether to endorse Koppell, endorse Klein or stay neutral. That meeting is May 22.

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