Coalition for Who?

Rosie Mendez

When is a club’s endorsement not really an endorsement?

On June 7, Ken Diamondstone’s campaign put out a press release announcing his endorsement by CoDA, a Lower East Side Democratic club, over his incumbent opponent, Martin Connor, for the 25th State Senate district. (Soon after, Diamondstone received the backing of the Working Families Party.)

Then, it seems, something changed. CoDA was no longer endorsing Diamondstone.

The scenario we heard was that Rosie Mendez, the former 74th A.D. District Leader and now Council Member, pushed for a re-vote on behalf of Connor, an ally of Mendez and of her mentor, Margarita Lopez.

According to the Diamondstone campaign, the club rescinded its endorsement only after Mendez forced through a change in the bylaws that suddenly required endorsees to receieve 55 percent of members’ votes instead of a simple majority.

“That is not correct, no,” said Mendez. “Originally we had an endorsement meeting and Ken Diamondstone won by like 50, he won by a couple of votes, I think it was 51, 52 percent of the vote. We didn’t have our bylaws there, and when we checked the bylaws it turned out that he needed 55 percent of the vote so there was a re-vote and then there was no endorsement on the re-vote.”

“Just last week they had a regular monthly meeting to vote on the bylaw change to allow for the 55 percent so it obviously wasn’t in effect when they said it was,” said a Diamondstone spokesman.

Coincidentally, perhaps, Connor almost lost the endorsement of the Brooklyn-based Independent Neighborhood Democrats in April before something similar (pdf) happened.

“I endorsed months and months ago, and I endorsed Marty Connor,” Mendez said. “If I was stacking the club in favor of Connor, he would have gotten the endorsement.”

—Nicole Brydson

Coalition for Who?