Breaking: Michael Blake Announces Run for the Serrano Vacancy

Michael Blake Will Run for New York’s 15th Congressional District

In a late-night email to suppporters, Morrisania assemblyman Michael Blake announced that he is indeed running for Congress in the South Bronx to replace retiring Rep. José Serrano. Blake’s entry follows CM Ruben Diaz Sr., who announced his candidacy earlier this month, and West Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres, who announced earlier this year before Serrano revealed that he has Parkinson’s disease and won’t seek re-election in 2020. He’s now the fifth candidate to announce and file paperwork with the Federal Election Commission.

“I am asking the people of the 15th Congressional District to give me the opportunity to be our next voice in Washington, D.C. where I will use my federal and local experience along with my vision focused on equity to represent our district,” said Blake in his email sent at 11:25 PM Tuesday night.

Taking note of Rep.Serrano’s illness, Blake offered his thoughts and prayers to the congressman’s family as he deals with Parkinson’s “and stands up for us in Washington.” Blake also pledged “to build on [Serrano’s] legacy while seeking to take the South Bronx to new heights.”

Blake’s announcement wouldn’t be complete without reference to his time in “The White House in President Obama’s administration.”

The ambitious assemblyman was long rumored to be interested in running for Congress. When he ran recently in the February special election for Public Advocate, it was said that in exchange for CM Torres’ endorsement, Blake allegedly assured him that he wasn’t interested in running for Congress. Nor did he give Councilman Torres a courtesy call informing him that he would be making Tuesday night’s announcement. Coming in fourth (8.4%) in the citywide special election likely caused him to go back on his word to Torres.

Blake also famously crossed Rev. Diaz when he demanded the return of a $1000 campaign donation he had given the anti-gay marriage lawmaker after progressive and LGBTQ groups excoriated him for donating to Diaz’s city council run in 2017.

Other declared (and FEC-registered) candidates include first-time candidates Jonathan Ortiz and Tomas Ramos, both of whom work for local community-based organizations. So far, no women candidates have emerged to declare their intentions. Former Serrano staffer Amanda Septimo as well as community activist Samelys Lopez, former city council candidate Amanda Farias and BOEDC president Marlene Cintron are believed to be exploring their options.

The Democratic primary will be held on June 23rd, 2020. Now that state and federal primary elections have been consolidated Blake would be abandoning his Assembly seat to run for Congress.

CORRECTION: Astute readers pointed out that Blake finished fourth behind Jumaane Williams, Eric Ulrich and Melissa Mark-Viverito in the February special election for public advocate and that Blake had made an initial $1000 contribution to Rev. Diaz’s 2017 city council campaign. Both corrections were made. The Bronx Chronicle appreciates reader feedback.

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