Alessandra Biaggi might have a tough primary road ahead of her in her efforts to challenge state Sen. Jeffrey Klein, but she is picking up endorsements.
And that includes a new one from former U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel. And for him, it’s a little personal when it comes to Klein and his now dissolved Independent Democratic Conference.
“In 2013, Sen. Klein had the chance to join his Democratic colleagues and make Andrea Stewart-Cousins the first African-American woman to serve as senate majority leader,” Rangel said, in a release. “Instead, he voted for a Republican, Dean Skelos, to be the senate’s leader — a choice directly responsible for the last five years of a Republican-controlled senate, blocking progressive goals like the Dream Act, the Reproductive Health Act, and fair funding of our public schools.”
Rangel served in Congress for 46 years, retiring in 2017. Adriano Espaillat succeeded him last year.
Another lawmaker throwing his support behind Biaggi is former Assemblyman and councilman G. Oliver Koppell, who said her election would “send a powerful message to take us one step closer to the progressive Democratic majority we deserve.”
Koppell has some firsthand experience when it comes to Biaggi’s campaign — he unsuccessfully ran his own primary against Klein in 2014. His goal then was to disband the IDC, a group of breakaway Democrats who caucused with Republicans until earlier this year.
U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel is running neck-and-neck with his primary challenger, Jonathan Lewis — at least as far as money is concerned.
Each have raised a little more than $600,000, although the bulk of Lewis’ funds — more than $510,000 — has come from his own pocket.
Lewis has picked up $113,000 in individual contributions through the end of March, according to federal election data, while Engel has generated a little more than $400,000.
Engel is picking up money from political action committees, however — nearly $200,000, something Lewis says he won’t accept, and so far hasn’t.