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Field of Candidates To Replace Vito Lopez’ Assembly Seat Gets Crowded

lopezThe race to replace former Assemblyman Vito Lopez won’t simply be a one-on-one affair.

Charvey Gonzalez, an aide to State Senator Martin Dilan, is also joining the field, which already includes district leader Maritza Davila and attorney Jay Otaño.

Mr. Dilan was a close ally of Mr. Lopez when the two served together in Albany, and since Mr. Lopez appears to be running for the City Council on a joint ticket with Ms. Davila, Mr. Gonzalez’s prospective candidacy led at least one observer to speculate it was an attempt to split the anti-Lopez vote in Ms. Davila’s favor.

But Mr. Dilan told Politicker that this wasn’t the case at all. “Vito and I have always been friends,” he said this afternoon. “But he has nothing to do with Charvey running.”

“I’m supporting him. This is something he wanted to do and I told him to think about it long ago,” Mr. Dilan explained. “He did and he said he wants to do it. He’ll be a good assemblyman … I know that [Mr. Lopez] does have his candidate … I think we need to start looking somewhere fresh.”

When asked, Mr. Dilan said Mr. Lopez–who resigned in the aftermath of a scathing sexual harassment investigation–wasn’t pleased with the situation.

“I have mentioned it to him. I would say that he’s not happy with it,” he said. “I told him that if he wants to run he has the right to run.”

Assemblyman Rafael Espinal, who previously served as chief of staff to Mr. Dilan’s son, Councilman Erik Dilan, further told Politicker that Mr. Gonzalez “is in it to win it.”

The election to fill Mr. Lopez’s vacancy will be decided on September 10th, as the primary winner is all but assured victory in the heavily-Democratic, Bushwick-based seat.

Lincoln Restler, a close ally of Mr. Otaño and a Lopez antagonist, reached out to Politicker to slam Mr. Gonzalez’s campaign as a “cynical ploy.”

“This is a cynical ploy by a Vito puppet to run spoiler candidates in the Assembly and Council races to preserve power for Vito and his minions,” Mr. Restler insisted. “The voters of Williamsburg and Bushwick must see through these sham candidacies.”


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