Iris Báez Eliminated from Bronx Primaries
From Hoy
August 21, 2003

By Maxy Sosa

The fight for the Democratic nomination for the City Council’s 14th district seat (in the Bronx) has been reduced to two: the current Councilmember María Báez and the ex-councilmember and state senator Israel Ruiz Jr.

Left behind was Iris Báez, whose candidacy was disqualified the 28th of July by the Board of Elections because, of the 2,700 signatures that were turned in as a requirement of the candidacy, only 859 were accepted as valid.

Báez, mother of Anthony Báez, who died a few years ago at the hands of a police officer in the Bronx, needed 900 signatures or more in order to enter onto the ballot, but fell short by 41.

What led to the disqualification of Báez? According to her, a lack of information and experience.

Báez, who was running for public office for the first time, said that the Board determined that many of the people that signed the petitions did not reside in the district, an obligatory requirement to validate a candidacy.

The exit of Iris Báez from the race cleared the way for current councilmember María Báez, who will seek reelection and is the official candidate of the so-called “political machine of the Bronx.”

The similarity of the names provoked a conflict between both parties, since Iris has said on various occasions that María took advantage of this similarity in order to take the political advantage, something the councilmember denies.

Asking councilmember Báez if she knew why Iris had left the race, she answered that “it was her personal decision. We have spoken and she is supporting my campaign.”

Iris Báez was confronted with this declaration and responded, “The first time that we spoke was during the last Puerto Rican Day Parade in the Bronx, where I was introduced to her.”

Iris said that she has not had time to speak about political support with María, but added “I prefer her to Israel Ruiz Jr. He was opposed to naming a street in the Bronx after my son.”

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Translated from Spanish by Charlotte Triggs

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