from the Bronx News Network
by Bob Kappstatter
Tuesday, July 20th 2010
It looks like the contest to make Wabbit stew has boiled down to two leading contenders.
But last week the powers that be tried to budge one out of the Sept. 14 primary race, arguing he could wind up being a "Ralph Nader" spoiler, with state Sen. Pedro (Wascally Wabbit) Espada walking off with the most votes.
Candidate Gustavo Rivera picked up support from the state Democratic Committee (read that Andrew Cuomo), the powerful SEUI, Local 1199 United Healthcare Workers union; the muscular Working Families Party, and a pledge of 250G from plastics magnate/good government operative Bill Samuels.
Most recently a staffer to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Rivera has worked up the local political ladder and was a midlevel operative for candidate Obama.
"He's a smart kid who did a lot of political work with unions," said one Bronx Dem insider, "but he's got no Bronx political party roots - he was never a part of the organization - or a community activist."
Edging up close behind Rivera is Dan Padernacht, a lawyer whose family is big in real estate. With 4,600 petition signatures, Padernacht is seen as a larger vote drainer from Rivera than Community Board 7 District Manager Fernando Tirado.
Last week, Riverdale Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz set up a downtown meeting between Padernacht and state Dem Committee Exec Director Charlie King; Kevin Finnegan, political director at 1199 SEIU, and Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio, who has close ties to the union, with all of them trying to talk Dan into quitting. As of yesterday, he was still in the race.
Big ideas, small bucks
According to their financial filings, Bill Samuels and his New Roosevelt Initiative folks said they're ready to spend $250,000 to help Gustavo Rivera topple Espada.
But according to their latest filings, they have just $104,391 on hand. They raised $29,153 and Samuels lent $259,625. Somehow, they spent $184,386. Well, not somehow. A whole bunch on consultants.