While State Senator Adriano Espaillat was contesting his ultimately unsuccessful primary challenge to Congressman Charlie Rangel, he certainly wasn’t slouching in gearing up his backup plan of running for reelection to the State Legislature. Collecting signatures solely after Election Day on June 26th, Mr. Espaillat’s campaign submitted 4,238 signatures to get onto the ballot yesterday, far above the threshold needed for the run.
“In just two weeks, our campaign collected more than four times the number of signatures needed to qualify for the ballot – a fact that demonstrates the strength of Senator Espaillat’s candidacy and the enthusiasm of our many volunteers and supporters,” Mr. Espaillat’s spokesman, Ibrahim Khan, said in a statement last night. “Senator Espaillat has been a strong, progressive Democrat who has sponsored legislation to raise the minimum wage, led the way on extending and strengthening tenant protections, and supported independent redistricting. He will continue to be a Senator New Yorkers can be proud of.”
Mr. Khan made a point of stressing that, although it would have been allowed, his campaign did not accept any signatures for Mark Levine, a close ally of Mr. Espaillat’s who was already petitioning for his seat on the hope that the state senator would successfully unseat Mr. Rangel and leave a vacancy behind him.
He also said they did not include any signatures — collected without Mr. Espaillat’s consent — gathered before the 26th of last month, in accordance with the senator’s claim that he was only campaigning for one office at a time, a major sticking point of Mr. Rangel’s during the congressional race.
Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, who announced his state senate campaign months ago and vowed to continue on regardless of Mr. Espaillat’s situation, may very well have collected more signatures than the incumbent, but the thinking in the Espaillat campaign, it seems, is that they’ve made a signal of strength in the opening shot.
Voters head to the polls September 13th.