A five-way race in the Bronx is easily the most expensive City Council race this year, and most of that money is being spent by one candidate. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
The open seat in the 13th district covers the northeast Bronx neighborhoods of Throggs Neck, Van Nest and Pelham Bay.
Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj is one of several state officials hoping to make the jump to the City Council next year. He has spent more than $700,000 in the competitive race, which some say is the most that's ever been spent for a council seat.
"I don't know about that. But I have been fortunate to be able to build relationships my whole life, through my business career, in representing the state in the Assembly for the last five years. In doing so, I've gotten a lot of tremendous support. Also I'm the only elected Albanian in the country, which means I get a tremendous amount of support from Albanians throughout the country."
Marjorie Velazquez has the support of outgoing councilman Jimmy Vacca. She says women and Latinas are under-represented on the Council.
"There is a shortage, if you will, of women representatives in the City Council," Velazquez said. "Right now, there are 13, and we can stand to get as little as six next year and possibly zero Latinas. And that is a scary realization, especially in a district that's really diverse, and to have a representative that doesn't reflect the district is concerning."
John Doyle is also running for the seat. He used to work for Senator Jeff Klein, but Klein has endorsed Gjonaj.
"I don't make much of it. I think this is the typical Albany parlor game, to be honest with you," Doyle said. "I was privileged to work for Jeff Klein for five years. When I left Jeff Klein's office, I helped start Jacobi's anti-gun violence program, which the senator is a very generous sponsor of. And when Senator Klein was running in a contested re-election, I went back and helped his campaign effort at his request. So, again, I don't think anything's changed in terms of my abilities in the last few years. I think the politics have changed.
There are two other candidates who will be on the ballot next week here in the 13th district. They are Victor Ortiz and Egidio Sementilli.