Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bronx voters send state Sen. Pedro Espada packing; Hiram Monserrate loses Assembly bid

Originally Published:Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 11:48 PM
Updated: Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 11:48 PM

State Sen. Pedro Espada votes in the Bronx on Tuesday.
Chu for News
State Sen. Pedro Espada votes in the Bronx on Tuesday.
Gustavo Rivera, who ousted Espada, with Gov. Paterson in the Bronx on Tuesday night.
Gabel for News
Gustavo Rivera, who ousted Espada, with Gov. Paterson in the Bronx on Tuesday night.


Bronx voters sent scandal-scarred state Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. back to Mamaroneck on Tuesday.

Espada, whose real home seemed to be in the leafy Westchester suburb, conceded defeat Tuesday night to political operative Gustavo Rivera in their heated Democratic primary.

Another disgraced Albany lawmaker, ex-Sen. Hiram Monserrate, also suffered defeat Tuesday, losing his bid for a vacant Queens Assembly seat.

Rivera, with Republicans vastly outnumbered in the Bronx, is all but assured of a win in November and a ticket to Albany in January. "Obviously, this was decided by the powerhouse unions and outside millionaires and obviously the round goes to them," Espada, the Senate's majority leader, said. "They've successfully ganged up on me this evening," Espada told chanting supporters at the Luna Club on Webster Ave. after he was defeated by a 2-1 margin.

Espada, who for many epitomized Albany's political corruption, not only fell victim to Rivera but a coalition of reformers, tenants' advocates and labor unions.

"Tonight we got rid of the poster child of Albany dysfunction," Rivera told the Daily News on Tuesday night. "That sends a very clear message," he added. "We need to move in new direction, and that is what we intend to do."

Sen. Diane Savino (D-S.I., Brooklyn) credited Espada's loss to "the power of prayer."

"It's a big deal for the people of the State of New York in that it restores confidence and they don't have to worry about individual members hijacking the legislative process for their own personal gain," she said.

Monserrate, who was thrown out of the Senate this year for assaulting his girlfriend, was defeated by Francisco Moya in the race for the Assembly seat vacated by Jose Peralta - who was elected to the Senate to replace Monserrate.

Monserrate, Espada, Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. (D-Bronx) and Sen. Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn) formed the so-called Four Amigos in Albany to hold Senate leaders hostage to their whims last year. As voting unfolded yesterday, it was in many ways a typical race for Espada - he was accused of wrongdoing. Rivera's campaign released a list of instances in which they charged Espada's workers with violating election laws by campaigning inside polling locations.

Espada owes thousands of dollars in fines to the state Board of Elections for failing to file required financial disclosure statements. He's also accused by state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of looting $14 million from his taxpayer-financed Soundview Health Center.

Among other legislative primaries:

- State Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Harlem) defeated Basil Smikle.

- Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan) won a four-way Democratic primary to fill the seat being vacated by state Sen. Eric Schneiderman.

gblain@nydailynews.com

With Celeste Katz and Kenneth Lovett

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