Oliver Koppell, a former state attorney general and Bronx councilman, has told associates that he will declare a state Senate bid next week, likely on Monday.
Two sources with direct knowledge of Mr. Koppell's plans told Crain's that he is finally ready to make official his plans to challenge the Senate co-leader, Bronx Democrat Jeffrey Klein. The race is set to be a high-profile affair because Mr. Klein's five-member Independent Democratic Conference shares control of the chamber with Senate Republicans. That has raised the ire of liberal activists, including the website the Daily Kos, who charge that the arrangement has bottled up progressive legislation such as campaign finance reform. If Mr. Klein were to be defeated, power in the chamber could swing back to Senate Democrats.
Mr. Klein, a strong fundraiser who enters his re-election campaign with a formidable war chest, will be a strong favorite in the race. But Mr. Koppell has high name recognition and has long represented Riverdale, a new part of Mr. Klein's district. Mr. Koppell did not return repeated requests for comment, and has waffled in recent weeks over whether to declare his candidacy. Mr. Klein's press office did not immediately return a request for comment.
Mr. Koppell has already lined up the support of Tenants PAC and fundraiser Bill Samuels. But Mr. Klein is expected to have much of the institutional support and has the backing of the Bronx Democratic Party.
Mr. Koppell has not yet registered a campaign account to raise money for a run. He has also gone back-and-forth about whether he will take on Mr. Klein.