Manhattan State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who conceded defeat this afternoon in his contested primary race against Rep. Charles Rangel, declined to say whether he would run for re-election to the state Senate.
But Espaillat signaled that he would run for his seat, revealing at a press conference today that he had given district leaders permission to circulate petitions on his behalf after the June 26 congressional primary.
“I authorized some of the district leaders to begin circulating petitions after the 26th, after election day, and I will be considering my personal decision as to whether or not I will accept those signatures and move forward in re-election,” he told reporters outside his district office. “I promise you that in 48 hours, I will have that answer for you.”
Petitions to run for the state Senate and Assembly are due by Thursday.
A source close to Mark Levine — an Espaillat ally who had been planning to run for Espaillat’s seat — also confirmed the senator will run for re-election. The source said that Espaillat will use his own petition signatures and not get on the ballot through a Levine vacancy committee, as has been speculated.
Levine, meanwhile, will now set his sights on running for the New York City Council, presumably with Espaillat’s support.
During the campaign, Espaillat said he only had his sights on the congressional seat, not his own seat. Rangel, the longtime Congressman who faced his toughest primary challenge in over four decades in office, had seized on Espaillat’s comments, saying that he didn’t know where the senator would find a new job when he lost.
“I said that I would not circulate petitions, nor would I submit petitions to the Board of Elections, while I was running for Congress,” Espaillat said when asked why he had reversed course. “And that I’m not going to do. Any signatures that might come forward were gathered after the 26th, and I have not yet decided whether I will accept those signatures.”
Whether or not he runs for re-election, Espaillat could be a serious candidate for Rangel’s congressional seat again in two years. Espaillat, who is Dominican, came within 1,000 votes of ousting the incumbent, capitalizing on changing demographics and redrawn lines that made Latinos a majority in the district.
“There’s no question I come out of this process strengthened,” Espaillat said. “I think two years down the line is a long time. I will not make a decision right here, but I feel very strongly that I have been strengthened in this process.”
Espaillat could also find himself taking on the state’s other leading Dominican elected official, Assemblyman Guillermo Linares. Linares said he would run for Espaillat’s state Senate seat after Espaillat announced his run for Congress, and reiterated his intention to run when Rangel initially declared victory.
Asked if he had spoken with Linares, Espaillat said he hadn’t but he hoped to speak with him soon. Linares has not returned requests for comment.
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