Bronx Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz is not sold on the theory that a new candidate with an Hispanic name will siphon votes away from State Senator Adriano Espaillat’s congressional bid.
After the New York Post reported that Yolanda Garcia, a relatively little-known Bronx community activist, had suddenly filed petitions to run in the Democratic primary against Mr. Espaillat and Congressman Charlie Rangel, the longtime incumbent, some observers wondered whether Ms. Garcia was a plant to draw votes from Mr. Espaillat.
But Mr. Dinowitz, who endorsed Mr. Espaillat today along with the rest of the Bronx Democratic Party, told reporters he did not think Ms. Garcia would make a dent in the race.
“I don’t know if there was an intent to put her on the ballot to siphon off votes, but my guess is that the height of her campaign will have been filing her petitions,” Mr. Dinowitz said. “I don’t know her and I certainly have nothing bad to say about her, but I believe that in a race where there’s only one office on the ballot, people going to the voting booths know exactly who they’re voting for and therefore her ability to siphon off votes would be minimal.”
If Ms. Garcia makes it on the ballot, she would be the fourth candidate in the hotly-contested race to represent the district, which stretches from upper Manhattan into the Bronx. Harlem Pastor Mike Walrond is also running–making the contest a potential clash between two African-American and two Hispanic candidates.
Mr. Dinowitz argued that most people who show up to the voting booth on the June primary will be supporters of the main contenders and not easily led astray. Because of New York’s unique electoral calendar, federal primary races like Mr. Espaillat’s will take place separately from state legislative primaries.
“I think if people are going to vote for Espaillat, they’re voting for Espaillat. If they’re voting for Rangel, they’re voting for Rangel,” Mr. Dinowitz said. “I don’t think the fact that there are other candidates on the ballot, I don’t think that’s going to impact them.”
Ms. Garcia’s sudden entrance into the race also did not rattle Mr. Espaillat.
“I won’t speculate to speculate. Everyone has a right to run, this is a democracy,” Mr. Espaillat said. “I welcome everybody.”