Monday, September 6, 2010

Padernacht Out:

Democratic Party leaders and their allies in the effort to oust Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. have finally succeeded in convincing long-shot candidate Dan Padernacht to suspend his campaign and back the institutional favorite, Gustavo Rivera, in the upcoming Sept. 14 primary.

Padernacht was rumored to be considering this move for most of this afternoon and evening. The Times quotes the erstwhile candidate, whose name apparently will remain on the primary ballot in spite of his decision, thusly:

“I’m basically going to put all my support behind Gustavo right now so we can join forces as Democrats and try to knock Espada out. We didn’t want to take the risk of Espada getting back into office.”

Union, WFP and Democratic leaders have been trying to no avail to get Padernacht out of the race, even going so far as to have the New Roosevelt Initiative commissioned a poll that showed Espada was far more likely to hold onto his seat if he faced two challengers rather than just one.

The poll, conducted by Red Horse Strategies, found Epsada and River tied at 32 percent with 35 percent of voters undecided if Padernacht wasn’t in the running. New Roosevelt founder Bill Samuels released the following statement:

“We applaud Dan Padernacht’s decision to withdraw from the Democratic primary against disgraced State Senator Pedro Espada. Democrat Gustavo Rivera can win this race and with less than less than ten days until primary day, New York Democrats must redouble their efforts to insure his victory.”

We can have the best state Legislature in the country and it begins with the defeat of Espada.”

The deadline to get Padernacht’s name off the ballot has long since passed, although he is an attorney, so it’s possible he could be nominated for a judgeship – it could even be upstate – between now and primary day.

Even if he throws his support to Rivera, as long as Padernacht’s name still is available for voters to select, it’s possible he could be a spoiler – particularly in a low-turnout race that could be decided by just a few thousand, or even hundred, votes.

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