Rodneyse Bichotte, a Brooklyn district leader, announced today that she will once again run for the assembly seat currently held by Rhoda Jacobs.
But with sources in the district indicating that Ms. Jacobs, a Democrat first elected in 1978, may not seek re-election, Ms. Bichotte could have a much clearer path to victory than in the 2012 Democratic primary, when Ms. Jacobs easily won.
In an interview with the Observer, Ms. Bichotte said she had “learned a lot of lessons” since her previous campaign.
“After I lost, I learned a lot of lessons about campaign infrastructure and building relationships. I really have had constituents get to know who I was,” Ms. Bichotte said. “Two years ago I ran for district leader and the assembly. I was on ballot twice and people didn’t come out to vote for me because I was a fresh face and they were loyal to [the] incumbent. They gave a vote to her and a vote to me.”
This time around, she said, a “long list” of elected officials would be endorsing her candidacy. Public Advocate Tish James recently attended a Bichotte fund-raiser.
But Ms. Bichotte and other insiders told the Observer that Ms. Jacobs is in the process of boosting her own preferred successor, former City Council candidate L. Rickie Tulloch. Mr. Tulloch filed to run but has not formerly launched his bid.
“My goal was to run regardless,” Ms. Bichotte said. “We did hear from a number of sources Jacobs is not running and probably slow-walking her announcement so she can promote her candidate. That’s what it is.”
If Ms. Jacobs does retire, more candidates are expected to pile into the race for the open seat. Ms. Jacobs, who is white, has repeatedly defied demographic trends to win re-election in the district, which is now 63 percent African-American, according to U.S. Census numbers, with a large Caribbean-American community.
Ms. Jacobs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.