Published in
The Empire

Replacing Schneiderman

Mark Levine

Mark Levine's FaceBook page

Mark Levine campaigns at a parade

Here's a brief detour into one of the local races: a State Senate seat has opened up, and a chance to join the much  talked about upper chamber of the state legislature is drawing fierce competition from, among others, one of the institutional players in Albany.

Eric Schneiderman is vacating the seat in order to run for attorney general. The district goes from the liberal bastion of the Upper West Side, through Dominican-dominated areas like Inwood and Washington Heights, and extends all the way to parts of Riverdale in the Bronx.

Adriano Espaillat, is the front-runner, since he's an Assemblyman already representing part of the district. He was elected in 1996, but, in this anti-incumbent tide, having a 14-year record in Albany may not be as strong an asset as usual.

Espaillat has also hired consultants The Mirram Group (institutional players, run by the former head of the Bronx Democratic County Organization) and BerlinRosen (the powerful and well-connected, uber-progressive folks who help keep Sheldon Silver popular, and labor groups happy).

Either way, he has an impressive $104,700.96 on hand, according to the latest finance numbers released late last week.

But Espaillat doesn't have the most money in the field.

That title goes to Mark Levine, an educator, Democratic district leader and a guy who speaks English, Spanish and a few other languages.

Among the people that helped Levine raise $146,529.51are Wall Street veteran John C. Whitehead, mega donors Nina and Fritz Loewenstein and actor Ed Norton.

Also running is Anna Lewis, who's latest filing shows she has just $911.09 on hand. She ran for City Council years ago, worked for the Assembly for a few years and is casting herself as the wonky, not-too-political candidate in the race.

And lastly is Miosotis Munoz, who managed to raise $6,2400 for the race, but ended the latest filing period with $339.87 in debt.

So, practically speaking, it's mostly a two-person race (Espaillat and Levine)  with Lewis and Munoz, sucking-up some oxygen each of them: Munoz could siphon away some Spanish votes from Espaillat, while Lewis, the only woman in the race, could, theoretically, draw votes away from Levine.