Mark Levine, a district leader who ran against now-State Senator Adriano Espaillat in 2010 for the seat Eric Schneiderman left behind to become Attorney General, is running for the same seat again this year, and he’s picking up a little steam even as some confusion remains as to whether he’d have pull the plug on his campaign. This is due to the unique circumstances that would allow Mr. Espaillat, now a close ally of Mr. Levine’s, to run for reelection should he fall short in his primary challenge against veteran Rep. Charlie Rangel. Nevertheless, it seems Mr. Levine is plowing ahead.
At a candidate forum in Mr. Espaillat’s congressional race last night, Mr. Levine told us he’s already received the backing of all six Democratic clubs that have endorsed so far: the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club, the Upper West Side’s Ansonia and Park River Democratic Clubs, the Barack Obama Democratic Club in Washington Heights and the Three Parks and Broadway Democratic Clubs on the Upper West Side.
(The Barack Obama Democratic Club isn’t too surprising, it should be added, as it’s Mr. Levine’s own club.)
Currently, Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, who has declared for the seat himself and has given signals he’d be willing to run against Mr. Espaillat or Mr. Levine, whatever the circumstances may be, looks to be Mr. Levine’s main opponent but his campaign for the September 13th election has been relatively quiet so far.
“I am truly honored by the support of the grassroots, progressive activists who make up the Democratic clubs in our district. These victories are a major boost to my campaign to build on the great work of Sen. Adriano Espaillat in representing our district in Albany,” Mr. Levine added in a subsequent statement he passed along. “I’m running to be an independent, reform-minded, progressive fighter for our community at a time when the Republican dominated State Senate remains a deeply dysfunctional body.”
Interestingly, Mr. Levine’s statement also directly insinuated he is be the lone candidate in the race who would be completely committed to caucusing with the Democratic Party, unlike, say, the “Four Amigos” or the Independent Democratic Caucus.
“It is critical that our district continue to be represented by a strong progressive who is committed to caucusing with the Senate Democrats,” he said. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that this election may help determine control of the New York State Senate.”