Earlier this afternoon, Assemblyman Vito Lopez announced that he would not seek reelection as chair of the county’s Democratic organization in the face of serious sexual harassment allegations. However, he vowed to seek reelection in the State Assembly, determined to serve his constituents despite being stripped of all seniority and power in that legislative chamber.
Predictably, opponents of Mr. Lopez’s rule aren’t content with this solution and have called on him to get completely out of the picture.
“We join the chorus of New Yorkers calling for Assemblyman Vito Lopez to resign,” Working Families Party Executive Director Dan Cantor said in a statement. “His peers have found the very serious allegations against him to be credible. Assemblyman Lopez has forfeited his right and ability to lead and to represent his constituents.”
Of course, the WFP has found themselves at odds with Mr. Lopez in recent years, and unsuccessfully attempted to snag a special election from his grasp when Assemblyman Darryl Towns left to join the Cuomo administration last year. Mr. Cantor acknowledged this but insisted his goals were more noble.
“It’s no secret that we’ve had our political differences with Assemblyman Lopez in the past,” he added. “But this is not about politics. It’s about decency and respect. Good, effective government has no place for behavior like Lopez’s. It’s time for him to resign from the Assembly, for the good of our state.”
District Leader Jo Anne Simon, a member of the small reformer coalition in the county organization, issued a statement of her own echoing similar themes.
“I am hopeful in the days ahead he will realize that immediately removing himself from both political and public office is what is in the best interests of the people he claims to care about,” she said, pivoting to a call for a female leader to take Mr. Lopez’s spot as the top Democrat in Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, the New Kings Democrats, an organization associated with known Lopez critic Lincoln Restler, were unsatisfied for an entirely different reason altogether: Mr. Lopez did not offer an immediate resignation, but rather an announcement that he would not be a candidate when the county’s district leaders next vote for their chairperson.
“Vito Lopez’s continued hold on power is an insult to his victims as well as victims of sexual harassment everywhere,” Alex Low, president of NKD, said in a statement. “No business would keep a repeat sexual predator on its staff, nor allow him to determine the timing of his exit, and certainly not let him continue to exert such great influence. Why should the Brooklyn Democratic Party be any different? We call on all local elected officials and district leaders to show unflagging resolve and renew their demands for Lopez to step down immediately.”