Assemblyman Rafael Espinal is officially campaigning for the seat belonging to outgoing Councilman Erik Dilan, he told Politicker today. Combined with yesterday’s Council announcement by Assemblyman Micah Kellner and Joe Lhota’s mayoral campaign, indicators are piling up that the 2013 election cycle is fully underway, up an down the ballot.
“I just think it’s a great opportunity to have a direct impact on my communities; in the State Assembly, it’s harder to bring resources into our neighborhoods,” Mr. Espinal said, adding that his experience as Mr. Dilan’s chief of staff will enable him to “hit the ground running.”
Mr. Espinal, who won a high-profile special election in 2011, instantly becomes the front-runner for the seat, a majority-Hispanic district spanning the northeastern corner of Brooklyn.
Earlier this week, Mr. Espinal received a boost when his main electoral rival, Jesus Gonzalez, suddenly announced he was no longer seeking the seat. Mr. Gonzalez, who had campaigned against Mr. Espinal for the Assembly gig, was expected to mount a strong challenge and had already lined up some labor support.
“I was definitely surprised,” Mr. Espinal said of Mr. Gonzalez’s withdrawal, the same reaction experienced by many of Mr. Gonzalez’s own supporters. “I had my foot on the gas pedal.”
Nevertheless, two other candidates have also registered campaign accounts for the district, according to the city’s campaign finance board: Helal Sheikh and the aptly-named Kimberly Council.