Embattled State Senator Loses In Primary Race
Pedro Espada Jr., the man who was instrumental in last year's State Senate coup, will be out of a job come January, after losing to Democratic newcomer Gustavo Rivera in Tuesday’s primary. NY1’s Dean Meminger filed the following report.
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"You wish I would disappear. I am here to stay! I am here to stay!" promised Espada.
But this tough political brawler is going to have to fight another day. The state senator suffered a knockout in Tuesday's Democratic primary.
"Listen to me; I have lost political contests before. The difference between this fighter and other people, they quit. Understand, I'm not quitting anything,” said Espada.
But the winner, relative newcomer Gustavo Rivera, says the voters have spoken and it's time for Espada to step aside.
"It is not just make sure that we get rid of Espada, it is not just anybody but Espada,” said Rivera. “It has to be about how we move forward with a new direction. What we did tonight is offer a coalition of working men and women and elected officials and interests across the state that we move in the right direction."
It's been a rough year for Espada, who had his Soundview health care clinic raided by the FBI and IRS. The U.S. attorney's office has been investigating.
The New York attorney general's office announced a lawsuit against him, claiming Espada stole millions from the clinic.
Last year, Espada gained notoriety statewide when he took part in a political coup in Albany, siding for a short time with the Republicans, and throwing state government into gridlock – a move that led some Democrats and the Working Families Party to target him for defeat.
"I have never been an impediment to progress in the Bronx,” said Espada. “What I have tried to do is be an independent voice."
Despite all of the political baggage, a lot of people thought it would be hard for Espada to lose. In fact, when he started giving his concession speech, it was a bit of a surprise to the media and his supporters. He admitted he lost, long before the official numbers came out.
But if his track record is any indication, expect to see Espada cause some political waves in the near future.