Brooklyn Democratic Party Boss Vito Lopez has a team of lawyers at the Kings County Courthouse to try to knock his opponent, Esteban Duran, off the ballot.
A Supreme Court judge ruled in favor of Duran last week, but Lopez appealed the decision. Duran is challenging Lopez for his position as a district leader, which is an office within the local county party. This is the first time that anyone can remember Lopez receiving a serious challenge for either his Assembly seat or his district leader seat, but Lopez and his lawyer, Carl Landicino, are known as fierce petition-challenger. Duran is part of the New Kings Democrats, a Williamsburg political club dedicated to reforming the Lopez-run county party. They are running a slate of candidates against Lopez allies, and Lopez allies are also running against incumbent district leaders that are opposed to him. This is making for an exciting summer in what are usually sleepy, backwater contests.
Duran gathered over 2,000 signatures. Only 500 are required. But a judge found that close to 1,300 of them were invalid, and so Duran is clinging to just a 241 signature margin as the case goes to the Appellate division.
“It’s interesting that Vito is fighting him so hard,” said New Kings president Matt Cowherd. “It reeks of desperation and fear. He has never had to run a competitive race before and is scared to death of what may happen. This is clearly an attempt to drain an opponent of time, energy, and money.”
We reached out to Landicino for comment but have not yet heard back.