Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. is looking to boot his chief opponent, Gustavo Rivera, off the Sept. 14 primary ballot.
Espada's election lawyer Daniel Pagano released a statement saying the campaign is formally challenging the petition signatures filed by Rivera.
"Everyone seeking to be placed on the September Democratic primary ballot has a lawful obligation to submit valid petition signatures to the Board of Elections," Pagano said. "Upon line-by-line scrutiny and review of Mr. Gustavo Rivera’s petitions, we have found considerable evidence that the petition signatures Mr. Rivera filed with the Board of Elections are invalid."
Pagano called the legal challenge "good government at work."
"If Mr. Rivera’s petition signatures can’t stand up to scrutiny and meet election law standards, then they are invalid, and he deserves to be removed from the ballot because he is not a valid candidate, ” Pagano said.
Besides Espada and Rivera, Daniel Padernacht, a lawyer and Community Board 8 member, and Fernando Tirado, a district manager for Community Board 7, are seeking to win the Democratic nomination.
But Rivera has key backing in the district, including the Working Families Party, well funded activist Bill Samuels, who founded the New Roosevelt Initiative, and Manhattan Sen. Liz Krueger, whose mother, father and husband each donated $4,500 to Rivera.
UPDATE: Rivera's team just called to rip Espada.
Horacio Gutierrez, Rivera's chief campaign strategist, said that "it's very clear that Pedro Espada is running scared and he knows he cannot win Sept. 14th."
"Gustavo was all over the district and collected thousands of signatures from people who are disgusted with Espada, disgusted with his corrupt actions and they've had enough of him."
"Gustavo is going to be on the ballot on Sept. 14. Thousands of people in the Bronx have spoken and it's disgusting for Espada to try and disenfranchise them."