54th Assembly Update: Towns Hires, Velazquez Weighs In

More news out of the 54th Assembly district–a seat left vacant when Darryl Towns was named Andrew Cuomo’s housing commissioner.

According to several sources, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez is backing Jesus Gonzalez, a community organizer with Make the Road New York who also has the support of the Working Families Party. Velazquez has a longtime rivalry with Brooklyn Democratic leader Vito Lopez. Rafael Espinal, who is the chief-of-staff to Council member Erik Dilan–a longtime Lopez ally–is also in the race.

Meanwhile, the third candidate in the race, Deidra Towns–daughter of Congressman Ed Towns–has hired longtime Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf to manage her campaign.

No date for the special election has been set, but allies of Towns and Gonzalez are pushing for it to be held during the Democratic primary in September. Espinal is believed to have the inside track with the Kings County executive committee, and holding the election during the September primary will allow Towns and Gonzalez the chance to position onto the ballot.