It’s unusual enough to see mayoral candidates campaigning together the day before a heated primary. It’s even rarer when they belong to different political parties.
But that’s exactly what happened on the steps of City Hall today as several candidates made a last-ditch effort to boost Latino turnout, resulting in the temporary union of Democratic mayoral candidate Rev. Erick Salgado and the Independence Party’s pick in the race, ex-Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión.
With Spanish-language media clustered around the eclectic cast of supporters–the cowboy hat-wearing State Senator Rubén Díaz Sr., one of Mr. Salgado’s most prominent backers, stood with Assemblyman José Rivera, a small slate of City Council candidates and the Hot 97 DJ L Boogs–the various politicians mixed English and Spanish in an effort to galvanize Latino voters.
“We know that there is a sleeping giant in New York. It is the Latino community,” said Mr. Carrión. “They represent the dreams and aspirations and desires of the immigrant communities that keep coming here.”
“There is a sad side to this story,” he added. “Only 29 percent of the general electorate came out to vote in 2009. And guess what? Only 16 percent of the Latino community came out to vote.”
Mr. Salgado, a fiery reverend who is running a long-shot campaign to unite socially conservative Latinos and Orthodox Jews and has claimed he has been discriminated against by polling firms and the mainstream media, also took the chance to bash the front-running Public Advocate Bill de Blasio–a running theme of the last phase of the primary,
Mr. Salgado also dipped his toe in the fire, hailing Mayor Michael Bloomberg for calling Mr. de Blasio’s campaign “racist” for promoting his biracial family.
“Mayor Bloomberg just made a statement saying other candidates like de Blasio are running a racist campaign. In fact, it is!” Mr. Salgado told the crowd. “He refuses to campaign in the Latino media, taking us for granted.”
The event went further off-script when Rabbi William Handler, a controversial religious leader, took a veiled shot at same-sex marriage.
“Rev. Salgado is the only candidate in this election who represents the ideals and values of these Ten Commandments. Honor your father and your mother,” began Mr. Hendler. “If you ask the other candidates, ‘What is your position on honoring your father and your mother,’ they will answer, ‘What’s that? Who needs the father and mother?’”
“These candidates are fools,” Mr. Hadler further raged. “They are destroying the country. They are destroying the city. They are destroying our community with their foolish ideas.”