3:00 pm Jul. 26, 20122
Andy King, the 1199 SEIU-operative health care advocate who lost a 2009 bid against City Councilman Larry Seabrook, will run for the seat again, now that the longtime lawmaker has been convicted of nine counts of corruption.
"I will be running again," King told me in a brief telephone interview just now.
He lost in 2009, in part because the powerful union he's a member of opted to stay neutral. King said he doesn't think the conviction will drastically affect his campaign strategy, except to move up the timing. He was already planning to run for the seat in 2013.
Now, an election will be held on November 6—the date of this year's general election.
"I don't think it affects my campaign," King said. "My commitment to service has always been there."
King said the voters in the district are likely to ask the candidates about their views of corruption, in light of the Seabrook conviction, but other, more pressing issues will also come to the fore.
"People want to know you're dealing with the issues they're dealing with every day," he said. King told me he supported Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.'s initial call to oppose development projects like the Kingsbridge Armory, unless developers who get public subsidies agree to pay their workers higher wages.
King also said he supports the "paid sick leave" legislation which is currently being held up by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn over concerns it could hurt small businesses that are already struggling.
"I believe that it has to happen because it has an impact on you and I," King said of the bill.
When I asked him which 2013 mayoral candidate he was supporting, King demurred briefly, before saying "I have the best relationship with the public advocate, Bill de Blasio," and said he liked how de Blasio "reached out" to constituents throughout the city.
Other Bronx elected officials seemed eager to put Seabrook behind them.
State Senator Gustavo Rivera, said, "It is a sad day for Bronxites who do not deserve to see yet another one of our elected officials convicted of crimes that violate the public trust." Rivera, who ousted another scandal-plagued Democrat, Pedro Espada, in a closely watched campaign last year, went on to say, "Bronxites deserve better from their elected officials - they deserve to have public servants and not politicians who serve their own interests before those of their constituents."
Through a spokesman, the Bronx Democratic County Leader Carl Heastie said he was sad to hear the news and is praying for the Seabrook family.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said the conviction "will allow" the borough to move forward.