There is a four-way race to succeed State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who left his seat to run for Congress. While Espaillat is hoping to play kingmaker in that race and has endorsed his preferred candidate, he is considering sitting with the breakaway Indpendent Democratic Conference in Albany. And as State House Reporter Zack Fink explains, this is a year Democrats are hoping to win back the majority in the state Senate.
With the support of outgoing Senator Adriano Espaillat, Marisol Alcantara is hoping to follow in his footsteps. But facing a fundraising challenge, Alcantara has flirted with the idea of taking money from the breakaway five-member Indpendent Democratic Conference or IDC.
And that has drawn criticism from two of her opponents, former City Councilman Robert Jackson, and former aide to Mayor Bloomberg Micah Lasher.
"That I have these two men going in the press, one who was a lobbyist for a Republican Mayor, and the other who extended term limits so the Mayor can stay in office, that they are going to come and tell me who to sit with," Alcantara said. "I will sit in Albany with the conference that I believe will serve this district."
Jackson has the support of several unions, including the powerful teachers union and DC37.
"Considering that I ran two years ago against the incumbent and I got 43% of the vote, he got 50% and someone else got 7%, so I am clearly in my opinion and probably in many people's opinion I'm the front runner so they are chasing me," the former Councilman said.
The 31st District stretches from upper Manhattan down along Manhattan's West side all the way to hell's kitchen. While the bulk of the votes are expected to come from largely Latino upper Manhattan, the district also includes West End Avenue and Riverside Drive.
"It's the district that has folks from across the economic spectrum," said former Bloomberg aide Lasher. "From every possible place and heritage. And I think there is no one candidate who can represent this district without reaching out beyond their neighborhood, their background."
A fourth Candidate, Luis Tejada ran here two years ago and garnered 7 percent of the vote.
"I think this is a great opportunity for the community because this is the United States, and I am with the majority of Hispanic people," Tejeda said. "And the majority of the Hispanics are Dominican."
The thing about an open seat is that it is really anybody's race. It opens the door to people who have never run for office before like Alcantara and Lasher, but it also creates an opportunity for people who have run in this district and gotten votes before which includes Jackson and Tejada.