A little over a month ago, the New York Post reported on the possibility of Assemblyman Vito Lopez running for term-limited Councilwoman Diana Reyna’s seat in 2013, despite only the recent sexual harassment scandal that left his brand badly broken.
We, in addition to many Brooklyn politicos in the area, were initially very skeptical of the idea. After all, surely he would be too politically toxic to launch a campaign for a new office. However, sources say Mr. Lopez is “seriously considering” the move and has continued to reach out to friends and supporters to discuss the campaign since the Post first broke the news.
Even though his Council bid would be an uphill battle thanks to the controversy, the scandal has also liberated Mr. Lopez in some respects. After the sexual harassment claims were found “credible” by the State Assembly, Speaker Shelly Silver stripped the Mr. Lopez of his Housing Committee chairmanship as well as all seniority in the chamber. With nothing left for him back in Albany, the City Council could provide Mr. Lopez the ability to start anew, in addition to proving he still has political muscle in his backyard.
Of course, with an ongoing criminal investigation looking into the scandal and the federal government still investigating his influential nonprofit, there may be other barriers to his hypothetical campaign. And, after losing his chairmanship of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, it’s not clear how many allies the Bushwick assemblyman has left.
For her part, Ms. Reyna has backed her chief of staff, Antonio Reynoso, for the job.