Reaction To Councilwoman Arroyo Resignation News Grows

In a news release this morning, South Bronx community activist Julio Pabón announced that he is running in a yet-to-be-called special election in light of Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo plan to resign her City Council post effective December 31.

“Many in our community, including me , were surprised by her announcement,” said Pabón.

Arroyo’s seat will be filled through a special election, possibly as early as February 16, 2016. According to the City Charter, Mayor de Blasio must call a nonpartisan, special election within 45 days of a vacancy in the City Council.

Citing his 2013 primary challenge, Pabón said, “Though that was a heated campaign, I always took the higher ground and kept the campaign civil. [It is] in that same spirit I want to wish Ms. Arroyo the best with whatever pressing family problems she may have.” Pabón garnered 31 percent of the vote against Arroyo in the 2013 Democratic primary.

Pabón further stated, “I am sure that there will be others who will now want to run for this seat. However, just as I stated when I was the only one that challenged Ms. Arroyo in 2013, I believe in democracy and would welcome anyone who wishes to run and who genuinely believes that they can make a difference in a district that needs a lot of help and leadership to do so.”

Pabón called for letting the people of the 17th Council district decide.

The names of other possible candidates have come to the fore as likely contenders in that February 2016 special election.

In addition to Mr. Pabón, Rafael Salamanca, the district manager of Bronx Community Board 2 in Hunts Point and president of the 41st Police Precinct Community Council, is also a likely candidate. Mr. Salamanca already has registered a 2017 campaign committee with the NYC Campaign Finance Board.

The Mott Haven Herald first reported that Arroyo’s chief of staff, Joanne Otero, is interested in replacing her boss. Otero reportedly held a fundraiser at Charlie’s Kitchen in Port Morris last week to jumpstart her candidacy for 2017 when Arroyo’s term would expire due to term limits.

Observers of the Bronx political scene offered the names of other possible contenders. Among those thought to be interested in succeeding Arroyo are Rev. J. Loren Russell, president of the Simpson Street Homeowners Association, Ululy Martinez, an attorney and government relations director at Cablevision, Rev. Frederick Crawford, Ralina Cardona, who tried to unseat Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito in 2013, and city worker, Anthony Sanchez, who is registered with the NYC Campaign Finance Board.

It is unclear if the Bronx Democratic County organization will support any of the above-mentioned persons or someone who not yet surfaced. One thing is clear, however, the party would be loathe to lose a woman in elected office. Arroyo was one of four women in the Bronx’s 8-member City Council delegation.

Election consultant Jerry Skurnick of Prime New York noted that nonpartisan city council elections tend to elicit higher voter turnout than regular party controlled special elections.

Research by John Mollenkopf, distinguished professor of Political Science and Sociology and the director of the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center, showed that registered voters who contributed to a 2013 New York City campaign were far more likely to vote in those elections than voters who did not make a contribution. In the Democratic primary that year, registered voters who made a contribution were nearly three times as likely to vote.

“Clearly, the act of contributing is an extension of political engagement,” Mollenkopf said.

Additionally sources include the NYC Campaign Finance Board.

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