2:53 pm Jul. 5, 2012
Here's a little bit more from Representative Charlie Rangel's lawyer, Arthur Greig, who today accused State Senator Adriano Espaillat of orchestrating a legal challenge to the recent primary results as a way of ginning up favorable press coverage before Espaillat ultimately runs for re-election.
Greig said "Espaillat should be ashamed of himself" for challenging the integrity of the process, and told me Espaillat would "magically lose interest" in the voter suppression accusations by July 12, when candidates running in state legislative races must submit petitions to appear on the ballot. (Greig repeated the claim to more reporters a few minutes later, which I captured on video, albeit without the "magically" part.)
Greig's implication was that Espaillat's campaign is unlikely to provide much meaningful evidence for its claims of "voter suppression," despite making highly public claims about the disenfranchisement of some voters, and leveling lots of criticism at the Board of Elections.
Greig was speaking after a court hearing in the Bronx, where a state supreme court judge agreed to oversee the process, and scheduled a hearing for July 11, by which time Espaillat's campaign must submit its evidence for the accusations of suppression.
Petitions for the state senate seat, featuring Espaillat's name, began appearing toward the end of the congressional primary race, with Rangel seizing on them as evidence of the senator's true intentions. (Rangel even brought a copy to a NY1 debate to needle Espaillat.)
The senator claimed he was not circulating the petitions, and didn't know who was.
If enough valid signatures are submitted on July 12—even if they're gathered without Espaillat's knowledge or consent—he would have until July 16 to decide whether or not to accept them and run for the senate seat.
But there's another possibility by which Espaillat could become a candidate beyond the July 12 deadline.
Another candidate who has submitted petitions could, for some reason, decide not to continue their candidacy, and that candidate's Committee to Fill Vacancies would then select a replacement. The replacement candidate would have until July 24 to decide whether to accept that designation.
Mark Levine, a district leader and ally of Espaillat, declared for the senate seat in the spring and has been circulating petitions. Among the members of his Committee to Fill Vacancies is Espaillat's mother, Melba.