Embattled pols Naomi Rivera, Shirley Huntley get the boot in Democratic primaries
Last Updated: 2:55 AM, September 14, 2012
Posted: 1:46 AM, September 14, 2012
Two allegedly corrupt politicians — Queens state Sen. Shirley Huntley and Bronx Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera — got the boot yesterday in Democratic primaries.
Huntley was trounced by Councilman James Sanders, who got 4,979 votes, or 57 percent of the tally, to 3,477 votes, or 40 percent, for Huntley with all of the machine ballots recorded.
Huntley was indicted on Aug. 27 on charges of falsifying documents to conceal the fact that her niece and aide allegedly siphoned $30,000 from a sham charity she created.
A subdued Huntley last night refuse to concede.
“Thank you for your support. We won’t know the results until all the votes are turned in,” she told supporters in Jamaica.
“I’m tired. I’m going home.”
In The Bronx, Rivera, who allegedly hired two of her boy toys — one for a taxpayer-funded position and the other for a job on a charity that collected government funds — was also history.
She appointed ex-squeeze Vincent Pinela executive director of the nonprofit Bronx Council for Economic Development.
Her current beau, Tommy Torres, was hired at her Assembly office while he was a full-time public-school teacher.
Four investigative agencies are probing Rivera’s hiring practices.
In a stunning upset, challenger Mark Gjonaj handily defeated Rivera by 2,407 votes, or 52 percent, to 1,894 votes, or 41 percent, for Rivera.
Sources close to Rivera said she even lost to Gjonaj in precincts once considered her strongholds.
Gjonaj promised honest government at his rousing victory party at Maestro’s on Bronxdale Avenue.
“This is a victory for all of the people of the 80th Assembly District,’’ he said. “They deserve someone just as hardworking as they are.’’
Meanwhile, Assemblyman Vito Lopez, the former Brooklyn Democratic boss caught up in a sex-harassment scandal, won one proxy battle and was ahead in a second.
Brooklyn state Sen. Martin Dilan, a Lopez ally, routed challenger Jason Otano by more than 40 points — even though Otano used the scandal as a campaign issue.
Another Lopez ally, Chris Olechowski, appeared headed for victory over Lincoln Restler in a Brooklyn district leader’s race.
In still another closely watched race, Manhattan state Sen. Adriano Espaillat crushed challenger Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, 62-38 percent.
Espaillat, who narrowly lost a congressional primary to dethrone Rep. Charles Rangel, is now the odds-on favorite to succeed him.
Additional reporting by Candice M. Giove
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