Disgraced former lawmaker Hiram Monserrate is once again attempting to make a political comeback. He's running for a City Council seat in Northern Queens and facing off against Assemblyman Francisco Moya, who is being backed by the powerful Democratic County machine. State House Reporter Zack Fink takes a closer look at the campaign.
Although he is not an incumbent in the race for the 21st district of the City Council, Francisco Moya already serves the community of Corona in the State Assembly.
He is facing former State Senator Hiram Monserrate, who not only served time in prison for mail fraud, but also got booted from the Senate by his colleagues after being caught on video violently dragging his girlfriend down the hall.
Monserrate was later convicted of a misdemeanor assault charge. He was also part of the so-called "Four Amigos" in the State Senate who gave power to Republicans in a 2009 coup.
"He went to the Republicans, then he stole money," Moya said. "He is a domestic violence abuser. He has no business being in public office whatsoever."
"I have made my mistakes, I have committed my sins, I have paid for them and I have atoned," Monserrate. "I know my opponent want to talk about the things that occurred ten years ago in my life and that's what he would have to say. But I would like to talk about the seven years he has been in office and he has been inept."
It's not uncommon for the State office holders to run for the city council, particularly this year. Although in this case, Moya's Assembly District only contains about 30% of the Council District, but he has the County Organization strongly behind him.
Monserrate says his base is here in LeFrak City, but County Democratic Leaders who back Moya have decided to remove voting machines from these buildings prior to the September 12 Primary, which Monserrate claims will hurt his support.
"They are doing a horrible thing in attempting to suppress voters by moving the poll site literally in the last minute without properly notifying the community," Monserrate said. "Inexcusable."
Moya says voters have already rejected Monserrate in past attempted comeback elections.
"The voters have spoken three times," Moya said. "Three times. He lost the Senate race against Jose Peralta. He lost the Assembly race against me and he lost the District Leader race last summer. It's time that he understands that the public does not want to see a violent and corrupt individual in public service anymore. He should find something else to do."
Sources say Monserrate is also facing financial problems, and critics say it is questionable whether the law would allow him to assume office as a convicted felon.