Candidates Vie For Seabrook's Open Seat
The race for Larry Seabrook's old City Council seat in the Northeast Bronx began almost immediately after a federal jury found him guilty of conspiracy, mail and wire fraud last month. NY1's Errol Louis filed the following report.
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First out of the gate was Andy King, a former union organizer born and raised in the Olinville section of the Bronx.
"I wasn't imported," King said. "I didn't just come into this neighborhood, you know. From the early days of going to 41 Olinville and graduating from Evander, this has been who I am."
King unsuccessfully challenged Seabrook in 2009 and was already planning to run next year. That process will be easier now that it's an open seat.
"The power of the incumbency is very strong and what I'm grateful to know, you know, I'm a spiritual kind of guy and everything happens in its season and within its reason," King said.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said she'll endorse King. His former employer, Local 1199, the health care workers' union, is expected to do the same.
But King is not the only one running. Neville Mitchell, a lawyer from the area, has also thrown his hat into the race.
"I'm a new entity but not an unknown quantity," Mitchell said. "Folks in the neighborhood know who I am from my work as a criminal defense attorney. As I said, I grew up in that neighborhood."
Five other candidates have filed with the city's Campaign Finance Board. They include Cheryl Simmons-Oliver, a senior policy analyst for Bronx Congressman Jose Serrano. Even Seabrook's predecessor in the Council, Larry Warden, was considering a run for the seat but dropped out, citing health reasons.
With the conviction of former State Sen. Pedro Espada in May, the conviction of Espada's predecessor, Efrain Gonzalez and now Seabrook likely heading to prison, Bronx voters may be feeling a bit cynical about their local politicians.
"In my opinion, they all just crooked," said one resident. "Larry Seabrook was no better, no worse than the others."
The candidates hoping to change voters' minds will have to work fast. The special election for the council seat will be held on November 6, the same day as the presidential election.