12:42 pm Aug. 14, 2012
State Senator Adriano Espaillat ran against the Democratic political establishment when he challenged 21-term incumbent Rep. Charlie Rangel in a June primary. After narrowly losing, Espaillat is seeking re-election to his own State Senate seat and has racked up endorsements from a number of people who didn't support his congressional bid, including Rep. Jerry Nadler, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and the Working Families Party.
Espaillat though, is not done settling scores with some of his Democratic colleagues.
This morning, he announced he was endorsing Mark Gjonaj, who is challenging one of his Democratic colleagues in the state Assembly, Naomi Rivera, who publicly backed Rangel in the primary race.
"Nobody has worked harder or delivered more than Mark Gjonaj," Espaillat said in a statement. Gjonaj is an unpaid commissioner with the Taxi and Limousine Commission and owns a real estate company.
Rivera herself has been hurt, politically, after the New York Post revealed she put her boyfriend on her payroll, while he also kept his full-time job teaching gym at a local school.
Good government groups are criticizing Rivera today, and perhaps Espaillat's willingness to abandon a Democratic colleague could win him a few points with newspaper editorial boards, whic seemed unimpressed with his reform and good government credentials during his congressional race. The Times and Daily News endorsed one of Espaillat's challengers, Clyde Williams, effective denying Espaillat a potentially powerful boost in what turned out to be a narrow defeat to Rangel.