STATE RACES
STATE SENATE DISTRICT 31
ABOUT EYE ON ALBANY

West Side of Manhattan, Northwest Bronx.

GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS
Take a look at all the latest results for the November 5, 2002 general election.

x-Eric T. Schneiderman (Dem) 37,646 - 87 percent
Bienvenido Toribio (Rep) 5,262 - 12 percent
Michael E. Walters (Con) 485 - 1 percent

Candidates:

  • Eric Schneiderman (Dem/Wor) Incumbent
  • Bienvenido Toribio (Rep)
  • Michael Walters (Con)


BIOGRAPHIES

Guillermo Linares (Dem), who became a member of the New York City Council in 1991, is the first Dominican-born person to be elected to office in the United States. Linares earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the City College of New York and has worked as an instructor and supervisor of student teachers at City College's School of Education. In 1995, President Clinton appointed Linares to the President's Advisory Commission for Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. Linares also is a former president of Community School Board 6.

* * * * * *

Senator Eric Schneiderman (Dem/Wor), a native New Yorker, was first elected to the New York State Senate in November of 1998. After graduating from Trinity School in Manhattan, he attended Amherst College and, later, Harvard Law School. Schneiderman was the founder of the Attorney General's Anti-Crime Advocate program and served as a member of the board of the Lawyers Committee on Violence as well as Citizen Action. He sits on the Committee on Environmental Conservation; Codes; Corporations, Authorities and Commissions; Elections; Health; Judiciary; and Water Resources.

* * * * * *

Bienvenido Toribio (Rep) is a coordinating manager at the Northern Manhattan Health Network. A lifelong Washington Heights resident, Toribio has been active on community board 12, school boards 5, 6, and 10, and precinct councils 26, 30, 33, 34, and 50. From 1985 through 1996 he served as an NYPD auxiliary police officer and is currently a member of the National Search and Rescue Association. Among Toribio's accomplishments are an award for valor from the NYPD auxiliary police and a certificate of recognition from the Dominican Day Parade, Inc. in 1999.

HOW OTHER ORGANIZATIONS RANKED SENATOR ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN:

EMPIRE STATE PRIDE AGENDA

Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act

The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act adds actual or perceived sexual orientation to the state's existing laws which prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, and credit on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sex, disability or marital status.

Pride Agenda's Position: SUPPORT
Eric Schneiderman's Position: SUPPORT

Hate Crimes Act

The Hate Crimes Act enhances criminal penalties for a long list of crimes in which perpetrators intentionally select a target based on the victim's actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation. The Hate Crimes Act also requires the state to collect, analyze and annually report on data regarding hate crimes throughout the state.

Pride Agenda's Position: SUPPORT
Eric Schneiderman's Position: SUPPORT

THE BUSINESS COUNCIL OF NEW YORK STATE

Taxable Status of Nuclear-Powered Electrical Generating Facilities Act

This measure establishes that nuclear powered electric generating facilities must pay property tax.

BC of NYS Position: SUPPORT
Eric Schneiderman's Position: SUPPORT

Plumbing Standards

This measure creates a new article in labor laws by providing standards for plumbing materials and makes certain plumbing and piping provisions of the state uniform fire prevention and building code.

BC of NYS Position: OPPOSITION
Eric Schneiderman's Position: SUPPORT


PRIMARY ELECTION - SEPTEMBER 10, 2002

Candidates:
  • Guillermo Linares (Dem)
  • Eric Schneiderman (Dem/Wor - Primary Winner) Incumbent
  • Bienvenido Toribo (Rep - Primary Winner)
  • Michael Walters (Con - Primary Winner)

CAMPAIGN FEATURE

A Republican Conspiracy, Or Latinos Coming Into Their Own?

The choice between incumbent Eric Schneiderman and his challenger, former City Councilmember Guillermo Linares, for State Senator from district 31, places into conflict two goals both of which constituents in Upper Manhattan are likely to see as desirable -- the need to reward a battler for change in Albany's dysfunctional power establishment and the need to expand Latino representation in the legislature. (Read a transcript of a recent debate between the two candidates.)

Schneiderman is vulnerable because of redistricting. Schneiderman's district is much more heavily Latino than it used to be. Indeed, some Democrats claim that the Republican majority in the legislature did this intentionally to punish Schneiderman, who, as co-chair of the Democratic State Senate Campaign Committee, ranged the state to recruit Democrats to challenge Republican Senators. The response from Republicans and from the wing of the Democratic Party accustomed to easy co-habitation with them (including then-Chair of the Bronx Democratic Committee Roberto Ramirez) was fury.

Republicans argue, however, that their plan was not intended to unseat Schneiderman but rather to consolidate and empower the Latino community. But, some Democrats say, following the 2000 Census, Latino voters could have expected a district to be carved out in the city that would offer a relatively safe seat for a Latino state senator. Instead, the redistricting plan adopted by the Republican majority made district 31 just 51 percent Latino.

The incumbent says he is excited about meeting and representing new constituents. "I have effectively represented a diverse district," said Schneiderman, a native New Yorker and longtime lawyer-activist who played key roles in battles against subway fare hikes and for public financing of campaigns.

Guillermo Linares is no stranger to activism. Once a taxi-driver in the Bronx, then an educator and the head of the local school board, he became a member of the New York City Council in 1991 as the first Dominican-born person to be elected to office in the United States. In 1995, President Clinton appointed Linares to the President's Advisory Commission for Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. In the council, Linares established a reputation for taking on difficult decisions. In a land-use and city subsidy contest between a large supermarket chain and a group of bodega owners, he took the risky stance that a supermarket sponsored by a largely African American nonprofit development corporation, which he felt was urgently needed in his upper Manhattan neighborhood, was worthy of city support even though opposed by Latino commercial interests concerned about unfair competition.

Linares has endorsed Schneiderman in the past, and Schneiderman claims that Linares had sworn never to run against him. The race will likely fragment the Democratic Party along racial lines, as various political leaders endorse one candidate over the other. Republican Mayor Bloomberg has crossed party lines and endorsed Linares instead of the Latino Republican candidate for the district, suggesting that there is indeed more than minority empowerment at hand in the redrawing of Schneiderman's district.

THE ISSUES

Both Eric Schneiderman and Guillermo Linares believe that the downturn of the economy is by far the biggest issue in this race, believing it is bound to affect every New Yorker. "The World Trade Center attack really inflicts bigger pains and concerns. It's going to take a while to restore the confidence to where it was before, but I believe New Yorkers will stand up to this challenge," noted Linares. In order to cope with this fiscal crisis which faces both New York City and New York State generally, both candidates support reinstating the commuter tax. Linares, unlike Schneiderman, believes that subway fare increases might be one way to deal with the deficit. Schneiderman is opposed to such increases, and is concerned that cuts to senior programs might be in order. He hopes that raising revenues in a progressive and equitable way will be a start to dealing with the current economic crisis.

"Another issue that is critical and central to the state," said Linares, "is education." Linares suggested that the new reform giving Mayor Bloomberg control of education fails to provide a mechanism of accountability that would allow us to hold the mayor accountable to tangible results." Linares also cites the "need to ensure that we have a well-functioning structure with parental participation which requires intensive training for them so that they can make wise choices and make priorities and can hold principles accountable. Schneiderman advocated "parental representation to give the community a voice in the operation of its schools." Noting how city schools are often shortchanged, he believes that "the state legislature needs to fulfill the state's constitutional obligation" to provide all children with a sound education, and is a proponent of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.

Both Schneiderman and Linares see the need for decentralization of power in Albany. "I am disgusted with the current distribution of power in the Senate... and would like to see a more open and democratic process enabling all members of the Legislature to represent the interests of their constituents. Linares cited the need for constituent input, while Schneiderman commented on the benefits of wider broadcasting.

Schneiderman believes his record speaks for itself: "I've shown I can take on the status quo... I have stood up to the gridlock in Albany," and I just hope "that voters understand my accomplishments." Both Linares and Schneiderman are ideologically very similar.

THE GENERAL ELECTION

Whoever wins the Democratic primary will face either Bienvenido Toribio or Michael Walters in the general election. Of Schneiderman, Toribio claimed that "Schneiderman is just as new as everyone else because he's not known here." He said that he was disappointed that Mayor Bloomberg endorsed Guillermo Linares, a democrat, over himself, a republican. Toribio believes that there is much inefficiency in government and said that "there is not too much centralized power in Albany."

Michael Waters could not be contacted for an interview.

--posted August 26,2002

DEBATE TRANSCRIPT

In a race that is being watched by Democrats and Republicans alike, Eric Schneiderman, incumbent State Senator for the 31st Senate District, is being challenged by former City Councilmember Guillermo Linares. The following is the transcipt of a debate between them that took place on New York 1's "Inside City Hall"

INTRODUCTION: CANDIDATE STATEMENTS

Guillermo Linares (GL): My opponent has not really delivered for his constituents because he's been too busy fighting partisan fights throughout the state and it has to be at the expense of something and it's been at the expense of his constituents.

Eric Schneiderman (ES): I've actually found a nice niche for myself as the chief dissident and agitator forcing the Republican leaders of the Senate to pass bills they don't want to pass. I've won every time I've run with the overwhelming support of African Americans and Latino voters and I expect to do very well in those communities in this race also.

GL: It should be about the issues and it should be about who is best qualified and the voters are the ones who will make that decision.

Moderator (to Linares): He hasn't delivered for his constituents, you say about Eric Schneiderman, what do you mean?

GL: Well first of all his district has critical needs that have to be addressed and in order for you to address those needs you would have to have ears in those communities that you represent and you need to be there going to bat for them. You can't represent them at the same time you're running all over fundraising, doing party politics throughout, and that's what's been the case here. I believe this new district which has now taken hold is a district that brings even more challenges than the district he had before.

Moderator: Is there a specific issue in which you think he failed to deliver?

GL: I believe that whether you look at education, health care or housing needs in this district or quality of life, and when you look at my district and how I approached representing that district -- my district has the highest drop in crime. I brought to my district 500 million dollars to improve schools, parks and libraries. I fought hard to reduce overcrowding and schools were built in my district. That's the kind of representation you need to have.

ES: I did not hear a specific thing I have not delivered on. The fact is that the New York State Senate is very different than the City Council. You don't get big pots of capital money to give out. You fight over state policies that affect everyone in your district and around the state. I think I have an unequaled record of accomplishment in such a short period in the Senate -- in delivering for my constituencies on issues like forcing the Senate's Republican leaders to pass gun control laws, forcing them to require their friends in the insurance industry to cover mammograms, cervical screening and contraceptives. That doesn't just benefit the women in our district - that benefits the whole state. This is about state legislative battles and Albany is a very partisan town. It's not like the City Council where you have an overwhelming Democratic majority and you have a Democratic speaker. You have to fight hard for your constituents if you want the upstate Republican bosses to give anything to the city. We've seen that most dramatically with school funding where every year we fight to force them -- and we've had the success since I've been in the Senate -- to restore hundreds of millions of dollars to city schools.

Moderator: What do you think of the job Linares did as a city councilman?

ES: I think he was a competent councilman. I think it's just a tremendously different job. It's like saying someone was a good baseball player therefore they could go to the NFL. The Democratic minority in the State Senate has very little power legislatively. Where we do have power and where we've taken power since I've been there -- in our challenge to the Republican leaders that we're going to take issues to the streets around the state. As I've said I have spent some time campaigning, but I am a proud Democrat and Albany is a partisan place and I assure you if you look at the record of accomplishment since I have been in the Senate the Republican leader has passed bills that had been dying for years. Bills that passed the Assembly year after year, like the Hate Crimes Bill, like the Abortion Rights Bill, like gun control. And that is the fight we have to wage as Democrats in the minority in the State Senate.

GL: What we have to do really is have representation that goes to fight in Albany for the critical issues that are affecting neighborhoods and I believe that the that's the leadership this new district has to bring. The City Council has been the body that has elected Koch to higher office as a councilmember. Sent to the Congress Carolyn Maloney, Anthony Wiener and many others because it's the ground hold from which you deliver for the community and you are effective. I bring 25 years of service to a community as a teacher, as a college professor, as a school board member, and as a city councilmember. Now this district really presents an opportunity to bring that experience. I believe that the City Council is the major leagues and we need to change the way the State Senate is working in the legislature.

I want to talk a little about the district if I can. The district's composition was recently redrawn. It was widely reported that it was redrawn to include vast new numbers of Latinos and particularly former members of the Dominican Republic in order to give you a major challenge and you now have a major challenge.

Moderator: Is this basically an effort by the Republican Governor, the Republican leader in the State Senate to do in a man they obviously do not like, and if so, are you not obviously playing into their hands?

GL: Well first of all this is a new district. This is a redistricting year. We've been fighting to get this district established because northern Manhattan was always split. This district was a result of that effort. However, I must tell you that the district lines were not just approved by Republicans. The lines were approved by the Democrats, and it takes those two parties to really come to a consensus. So at the end of this process of redistricting the Democratic leadership signed off on the lines on establishing this new district then that's a process that I have no control over. And we were advocating for a new district that all of the constituencies of northern Manhattan would feel represented. If Mr. Schneiderman has fought over there to really upset his colleagues on both sides of the aisle and he now has a district that has been dismantled. He can choose to run in his old district which is by and large the west side, south of 79th, or he can choose to run in this district.

Moderator: Now I want to give you a chance to respond but I want to focus it this way if I can State Senator. The man across the table from you is the first Dominican member of the City Council. How can you sit across from him and claim that you can represent that community better than he can?

ES: Well I think for a couple of reasons. First of all, my opponent is misstating my old district - my old district included the same communities it does now, but the lines have been redrawn. Most of it was not below 79th street -- Washington Heights, Riverdale, Inwood were in the old district. I represented a diverse district then and I'll represent a diverse district with the new lines. The future of politics in New York is coalition politics. There is not going to be a district that does not have a very diverse constituency left in the city. In fact the fastest growing population in upper Manhattan is actually the Mexican community, and I'm very proud to have the endorsement of the president of the Mexican American workers association, of Isabel Navaho, the Vice President of Community Board Six and the leaders of that community. This is going to require us to have African American, Jews, Protestants, Dominicans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and I think that the difference between us is that I've shown and this is why I'm an incumbent, I've shown my effectiveness in the State Senate. I don't have to prove that I can get bills passed that otherwise wouldn't pass in the Senate. I fought hard for my district, I will fight hard for my old constituents and for my new constituents.

GL: I will respond and ask a question at the same time. You know Mr. Schneiderman is saying how he's willing to work with the diversity and yet he was quoted in the Jewish Week as referring to Latinos as being not citizens and not Democrats and not voting and to me that's injecting race into this campaign. I think it's offensive and I would ask him: Eric, would you pledge not to use race in this campaign, let's make this campaign a campaign of issues that matter to the constituencies of this new district?

ES: Yes, actually I have not injected race into this campaign and I certainly pledge not to. The comment you referred to was a discussion of the demographics of the district, and the fact that the census population is different than the population that votes in the Democratic Primary. For example, the African American population in the district by census is small, seven and a half percent. In the Democratic primary it's more like twelve percent. You keep suggesting that there was a racial tone to this and yet last year in an article by the award-winning columnist in the Daily News, Juan Gonzales, you yourself commented on the fact that many Dominican Americans were not registered to vote. That's not injecting race, that's discussing demographics. I hope everyone who can register, registers and votes, but this is the second time you've raised that. In our last debate I told you that was not a fair summary of my statement. We discussed that already. For you to keep bringing it up reflects bad faith since you said almost exactly the same thing in the Daily News a year ago.

GL: But the question is really for you to refer to the new constituencies in this new district and new Americans in a way where they vote or not or whether they are citizens, the question is, it is implied that because of their status they will be less served as the new representative, because my characterization as a representative in the City Council knowing that there were high numbers of new Americans coming in that may not have been citizens or voters or so forth was to represent all of them well and to be a strong leader on their behalf, and that's why I'm running. I'm running because I want to go to the State Senate to represent all regardless of whether they are recent arrived immigrants and new Americans or whether they've been here long.

ES: I think its pretty clear from this discussion so far, I'm trying to talk about issues. I'm trying to talk about forcing the Republican leaders in the State Senate to restore money for health care, to restore education programs and Mr. Linares is the one who keeps bringing up ethnic identity. That's not what I'm taking about. [inaudible interruption by Linares] Excuse me Guillermo, we already discussed this in the last debate. You refuse to accept the fact that there was a misstatement [and that] you made almost exactly the same statement in the Daily News.

GL: Are you willing not to use race?

ES: Of course! You're the one who keeps talking about it. I have represented everyone in my district very very strongly on the issues that matter most. And when I'm forcing the Republicans to provide health insurance for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who didn't have it before, that's not a black or white or Latino issue, that's a Democratic issue. When I'm forcing them, as I have, to restore funding for our public schools, that benefits everyone in the community - citizen and non-citizen alike. And I would urge you please to stop injecting race into this discussion

GL: I will say to you that what this new district needs is a strong leader that is not divisive, that will work will his colleagues, that will work to deliver for the needs of the district. That's what I am intending to do, as I did so with Mayor Dinkins and with Mayor Guiliani.

ES: I have a question. My question is a follow-up on that. Mr. Linares repeatedly said that perhaps I fight too hard for the issues that I care about in Albany and perhaps I don't, he would be better than me at building coalitions and getting along with people. If that's true than why have the overwhelming majority of the officials that represent this district and have worked with both I and Mr. Linares for years, endorsed me? Comptroller Carl McCall, City Comptroller Bill Thompson, [Manhattan Borough President] Virginia Fields, Council members Robert Jackson, Phil Reed, Gail Brewer, Christine Quinn, Oliver Koppell, Congressmen Serrano, Naddler and Engel - and every major union in the state that unites people of all races all creeds- doesn't that suggest that I'm pretty good at building coalitions, at getting along with people?

GL: You know what I suggest is just that you have the status quo, the establishment, the councilmen, the organization behind you. But it also says, when you say you have the support of Comptroller Carl McCall you are misleading people as you use his name in your literature. Carl McCall not supporting you. He is not, he is not your supporter. Check it out with him and it is official and he sent you a letter clearly indicating that he is not supporting you and I don't know how many of the people like Jose Serrano that indicated to me that he had not made an official endorsement of you. And I don't know how many others you are claiming you have. But the point here is that you are the one that is getting support of the establishment. My support is from David Dinkins, from Betsy Gotbaum the highest-ranking Democrats from the City of New York. My support is from Fernando Ferrer, former [Bronx] Borough President. Mayor Bloomberg is supporting me because he believes I am a strong leader who will fight for new Yorkers. All three Dominicans elected officials and more to come.

ES: I hope that we will clarify this issue and that if Mr. McCall clarifies his position that he's stated in public on numerous occasions that I will get an apology.

GL: Why don't you go and ask all the people you think are supporting you again. You may be surprised.

Moderator: Ok there are obvious political differences between the two of you, but when it comes to the issues, what are the differences between the two of you? Do me a favor, bring the issues on which you disagree.

GL: I think that by and large we agree as Democrats. And I am a diehard Democrat. I think that the difference between Mr. Schneiderman and me is the way we approach. I am a person that brings people together. I am a consensus builder.

I am not too familiar. I was his constituent by the way. I never received any communication from him until recently until there's a race going on. Now there's a lot of information going through the mail. There's not too much that I can point to. I do know that he was very busy challenging colleagues of his throughout the state, fundraising for them, but I don't know that he was fighting the fights that needed fighting.

ES: There are a few differences. Mr. Linares was the sponsor of a bill to repeal the term limits law. That's something I disagree with him on. He voted for some tax cuts that I would not have voted for in the last couple of sessions of the Council. There was in 2001 a bill that reduced taxes and I believe three members of the council voted against it Perkins, Quinn and Margarita Lopez, and he voted for it. But I will say this, I think it is very important for me to respond to this notion that I don't get along with people. I have not forced the Republican conservative leaders of the Senate to pass gun control laws and to restore funding to the schools by myself. I've done it because I'm the leader of a coalition of activist, aggressive Democrats in both houses, and I have the support of these people not because I don't get along with people but because I do get along with people. And I think it's sort of offensive to talk about people like David Patterson and Robert Jackson as the establishment. They work hard for our constituents. They're supporting me because I do work well with people.

GL: Well you have the establishment of New York County.

ES: Actually that is inaccurate. The counties have not endorsed. I do have the support of elected officials, every interest group- NARAL, the League of Conservation Voters, the Mothers of the Disappeared who lead the fight to reform the Rockefeller drug laws. They've endorsed Eric Schneiderman, not Guillermo Linares, that shows a coalition builder.

GL: You keep saying [you are] fighting the Republicans but you forget that in your approach you have [been] divisive with Republicans and Democrats as well. And you say with pride how you've been an outcast.

ES: That's a false statement. I've never said I'm an outcast. You said they're endorsing me. So let's not play this game. The reasons the upstate conservative Republican leaders are trying to get rid of me, it's not a matter of personality, it's a matter of issues, they pass laws they don't want to pass. I fight for fair funding for the city and I have a record of accomplishment that speaks for itself. And that's what I'd like to talk about.

Moderator: You spearheaded the efforts to elect Democrats against Republicans senators across the state. How much time did you spend on that effort and how much time did you spend on legislative duties?

ES: well most of my time is spent on legislative duties and you can look at the bills I've sponsored and the debates on the floor. But I would like to point out, and this is the most simple fact about Albany, the only reason the next four years the Republicans have moved on bills they've killed was because we ran candidates on those issues. The political and the legislative are tied together in Albany.

GL: If I go to Albany I'm going to introduce legislation to really correct what was not done with the education reform, which is to hold adults in the education system accountable. You were there when that legislation passed. I would also introduce legislation that makes sure that Mitchell-Lama types of programs are introduced.

ES: We already introduced it, and if you're a Democrat in the minority how do you get it passed, and that's what I've shown.

--posted August 26,2002


PRIMARY ELECTION - SEPTEMBER 10, 2002

Candidates:

September 6, 2002

With five days left before a primary that will, in effect, determine the ultimate victor in this year's election, state Senator Eric T. Schneiderman and his challenger, Guillermo Linares, are hammering away at their campaigns, and each other. (New York Times)

August 26, 2002

Since 1991, Adriano Espaillat and Guillermo Linares, two top Dominican-American elected officials, had been engaged in a feud considered fierce even by the rancorous standards of New York politics. Each recruited proteges to challenge the other's re-election, while their surrogates, groomed in their dueling Democratic clubs, vied for control of ground-level posts within the county Democratic organization. (Newsday)

August 12, 2002

In what might be called the Greening of Eric Schneiderman, some local Democrats are leading the move to unseat one of the State Senate's most effective young leaders. For one Democratic primary, the Republican mayor has chosen to interject himself by making an endorsement-- a very rare development. Denny Farell, the state Democratic chairman, is officially neutral, but he grasps that the contest is less about which of these ideologically similar Democrats represents this district than about State Senate Republican leader Joe Bruno's drive to maximize his political power. "If we allow Schneiderman to lose this race," Farrell says, "we allow Joe Bruno to control the Democratic party." If Bloomberg were merely interested in empowerment, well, there's a Republican candidate for this seat, too, and he is also Latino. The mayor's backing of Linares fives away the game. The Republicans' goals wasn't really minority empowerment, but rather a "get Schneiderman" district. And, mirabile dictu, they've got Democrats helping them. (New York Magazine)

July 10, 2002

For the last several years, Schneiderman has been the point man for the Democratic Party's effort to increase its numbers in the State Senate. In the last three years, Schneiderman's ritual has been to identify promising candidates throughout the state, raise money and help guide their campaigns. This year, however, Schneiderman finds himself unable to devote much attention to the campaigns of others. He is facing a primary battle of his own, against Linares, that is viewed as the most challenging of this election year in New York City. Mr. Linares says that he is not really facing an incumbent, since the newly drawn district barely resembles the one Schneiderman has been representing for four years. (New York Times)

July 9, 2002

This year, Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat from Manhattan, is facing a primary battle of his own that is viewed as among the most challenging of this election year in New York City. His challenger is Guillermo Linares, a city councilman from northern Manhattan for 10 years before term limit laws prevented him from running last year. The district in which Mr. Schneiderman is running has a population that is nearly 60 percent Hispanic - principally Dominican - compared with his old district, which was less than 20 percent Hispanic. Linares was formerly a city councilmember from the neighborhoods now sitting squarely in Schneiderman's district. (New York Times)

July 8, 2002

State Senator Eric Schneiderman now faces a serious primary challenge from former City Councilman Guillermo Linares, who is Dominican and has picked up several strong backers, including Mayor Bloomberg. In the interest of peace with Riverdale, Rivera has declared the Schneiderman-Linares contest, despite the heavy Latin influence, "mostly a Manhattan fight" and is keeping the party neutral, "as of now." (Daily News)

June 25, 2002

Mr. Bloomberg, a longtime Democrat who became a Republican to run for mayor, and who has since worked assiduously to curry the favor with his new party, threw his support behind Linares. Theories about the move have abounded. Maybe the mayor was reverting to his Democratic roots. Mr. Bloomberg, however, was hardly likely to incur the wrath of fellow Republicans by backing Schneiderman's challenger. The Republican candidate for the seat is Bienvenido Toribio, a district leader form Washington Heights. (New York Times, Newsday)

May 23, 2002

Under the redistricting plan, Schneiderman was placed in a seat that held a majority of Latino voters, a move that observers saw as a punishment doled out by the Republican party for coordinating opposition to several Republican held legislators, including Guy Velella, in state senate elections two years ago. Linares has been mulling over a possible run, but may have a hard time finding support for his campaign, with Schneiderman already picking up a large mass of support. Linares says that he has worked with Schneiderman and has had and continues to have a great relationship with him. He prefers that another district be created in an attempt to foster diversity and admits to having a slim chance of winning the race had the old district lines remained intact. (Riverdale Review)

May 16, 2002

Former Washington Heights Democratic City Councilman Guillermo Linares said yesterday that he would resign his senior post in the Public Advocate's office to explore running for public office. "The reason for my exit... I am getting a lot of calls from friends and people who have supported me, urging me to consider running," Linares said. "Working full time, I don't have the time to be able to consult with them and to really do what I need to do to make a final decision." (Newsday)

May 10, 2002

Democratic sources said "political pressure" was on community liaison Fred Lewis to step down after he clashed with another senior staffers, Guillermo Linares, the deputy of community relations. The source said the rift between the two developed when black staffers complained to Linares, who is Latino, about not having enough input into the planning of a Black History Month program. Lewis' departure raised eyebrows because Linares, the well-regarded former city councilman from Washington Heights forced out by term limits, is expected to challenge incumbent State Senator Eric Schneiderman for his seat. (Newsday)

April 29, 2002

State Senator Eric Schneiderman is reviled by his Republican colleagues because of his energetic campaign to put them out of work. The Republican redistricting plan has made him vulnerable to a challenge from a Hispanic Democrat, Linares. And some Democrats see in the possible Linares candidacy a multi-layered plot-- one involving leaders of both major parties-- to sink Mr. Schneiderman. Mr. Bruno was dismissive of any such plot. Mr. Schneiderman is now resigned to facing a primary. "The first day after the lines were released, I called Guillermo," he said. "He had sworn up and down that he would never run against me. He immediately started to back-peddle." (New York Observer)

 

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