In last week’s Observer, a longtime Bronx operative told me of Pedro Espada Jr.’s Senate district: “You got to remember, this is a poor district, and they feel victimized. … Part of his district is one of the poorest in any urban area. They’re looking for heroes.”
So Esapada’s campaign is trying to give them one.
His latest ads–sent over in English and Spanish by an Esapada aide–proclaim, in bold-face type: “SENATOR ESPADA IS OUR HERO.” The full-page ran in El Diario last Thursday in English, and yesterday in Spanish.
Under the headline “THERE IS A DOUBLE STANDARD,” the ad features the photo of three of Espada’s Senate colleagues–Senators Bill Stachowski, Neil Breslin and Brian Foley–and cites a Daily News editorial that praised them for holding up the state budget to make sure it includes reform of SUNY’s tuition system.
And it contrasts that praise with Esapada’s bad press.
“Senator Espada is vilified and called a ‘thug’ because he champions a different group of people; The disenfranchised Black, Hispanic, and poor among the constituents,” it reads. It also mentions that Espada is the highest-ranking Latino, and first Lation majority leader, in the state’s history–a concession he wrung from his fellow Democrats after a romance with Republicans last summer, which thrust the state into a month-long stalemate.
Espada is trying to beat back a challenge from Gustavo Rivera, a former aide to Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Kirsten Gillibrand, who has the backing of the New Roosevelt Initiative, the Working Families Party, and other labor groups.
To do so, Espada’s campaign is trying to claim him as the embattled protector of the district’s minority population–a champion to be protected by the district. “LETS DEFEND WHAT IS OURS,” the ad says.