Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Contest to make Wabbit stew boils down to candidates Gustavo Rivera and Dan Padernacht

Bob Kappstatter

Tuesday, July 20th 2010, 4:00 AM

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.

Smokeless room

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.

Little Charlie

Looks like after all that horn tooting over his Democrats for Change organization, Carlos (Charlie) Ramos came in looking short on his nominating petitions.

State Sen. Ruben (The Rev) Diaz Sr. has about "10,000-plus petition signatures against challenger Charlie's 3,100. Let's see if he can hang on to the required 1,000 minimum after legal challenges.

The Zen of Schlein

Assemblyman Peter Rivera and challenger Luis Sepulveda filed about 3,000 and 3,300 petition signatures, respectively, but neither filed challenges.

Dem Party election lawyer Stanley Schlein tells us he advised, "Take it to the streets. Don't waste your time killing trees with court papers."

Notes from a County dinner:

  • A packed room Wednesday night at Marina del Rey, equally divided between table-buying suits, Latinos and blacks. Now THAT'S a rainbow! We hear the party cleared close to half a mil.
  • Pedro challenger Gustavo Rivera sporting a shiner after he tripped getting off a bus and kissed the concrete.
  • Nobody applauded when Shelly Silver lauded Andrew Cuomo as making a great governor.
  • Among electeds showing their props: the governor, city and state controllers and assembly speaker: Paterson, Liu, DiNapoli and Silver. Lordy, sounds like a law firm. ...

Quid pro vote

We hear: Democrats who just barely control the Senate 32-30 are thinking of leaving some Republican district lines untouched when redistricting time rolls around. Quid pro quowould be a nice reserve bank of two to four GOP swing votes for Dems - without having to rely on chamber hijinks/headaches from Pedro or The Rev.

rkappstatter@nydailynews.com

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