Robert Jackson Kicks Off State Senate Campaign Vs. Espaillat

Robert Jackson Kicks Off State Senate Campaign Vs. Espaillat

Robert Jackson Kicks Off State Senate Campaign Vs. Espaillat
June 26, 2014

There is no rest for the weary in campaign season, as state Sen. Adriano Espaillat has learned.

After officially conceding in his congressional primary defeat to Rep. Charles Rangel, Espaillat will now set his sights on keeping his Senate seat, after a new primary challenger threw his hat in the ring today: former New York City councilman Robert Jackson.

Jackson, who represented parts of the Upper West Side, west Harlem, and Morningside Heights, quite literally kicked off his campaign in front of P.S. 187—where he and his three daughters went to elementary school—kicking  a soccer ball into the crowd, who cheered, and shouted “GOAL!” in honor of the United States-Germany World Cup match.

A longtime advocate for education reform, Jackson said he would continue raising issues around improving the school system during his campaign, in addition to affordable housing, economic development, and public safety.

“If you’re not safe in your community then you’re in trouble,” Jackson said. “I’m committed to shake things up in Albany.”

With Espaillat officially announcing his intention to run for re-election today, Jackson faces an uphill battle to unseat him, as much of Espaillat’s support base is rooted in the region’s Dominican population, which makes up a sizable portion of the district. Jackson figures to have the support of Rangel and some of the Harlem power brokers, and as Rangel proved with his victory Tuesday, racial and ethnic demographics are not necessarily accurate indicators of election outcomes.

When asked whether he was concerned about potentially toppling Espaillat—who did not concede until after Jackson’s announcement—Jackson, always good for a sound bite, responded defiantly.

“My name is ‘Action Jackson’ and I’m ready to fight on behalf of the people I represent,” he said. 

Paulina Tam