Rep. Nydia Velazquez has no qualms about saying one of her congressional challengers is little more than a puppet of Brooklyn's Democratic Party boss.
Our Alison Gendar reports:
“If it wasn’t for Vito Lopez, Erik Dilan wouldn’t be in this race,” Velazquez told the Daily News editorial board Monday during an endorsement interview.
Dilan, a City Council member, poses the biggest threat to Velazquez winning an 11th term in congress, this time in the redrawn 7th Congressional seat.
Velazquez left no doubt that she had been a thorn in Lopez’s side for awhile, and his support for Dilan was just a bit of political payback.
The congresswoman said she supported Judge Margarita Lopez Torres (fixed) when she ran afoul of the Brooklyn kingmaker.
“She didn’t hire his daughter, so he went after her. We supported Margarita -- the first time that we got involved in a boro-wide election,” Velazquez said.
“We defeated Mr. Lopez and I guess it doesn’t sit well for him for a Latino woman to have the audacity to challenge the county leader,” she said.
She irritated Vito Lopez again in her support for Brooklyn district leader Jo Anne Simon, who has pushed for judicial candidates to be selected on merit rather than patronage.
Every election, Vito Lopez gets someone to challenge Simon in hopes of ousting her, Velazquez said. This time around, Simon said she was tired.
“I said, 'You gotta do it. They just want to go after you so they weaken you, so they break your spirit...' But even if I lose, he will not break my spirit.”
(It's worth noting that recently, Vito Lopez and Velazquez found themselves on opposite sides of a brawl over the fate of Orthodox summer camps in Ulster County. - CK)