Following last night’s political spectacle in the Bronx, we received dueling press releases, both bearing a “Bronx Democratic County Committee” letterhead (though each in a different typeface). One claimed that Jose Rivera had retained the title of party boss in an “overwhelming” victory, while the other announced a win for Assemblyman Carl Heastie of the “Rainbow Rebellion.”
The pro-Rivera release said: “In a year when Jose Rivera’s leadership was challenged, Bronx Democrats showed their appreciation for Jose Rivera’s contributions to the people of the Bronx by arriving by feet, car, train and buses to cast their vote. Bronx Democrats have spoken. Jose Rivera remains the Chairman of the Democratic Party.”
A spokesperson could not immediately provide any official numbers to back up that superlative language, which is unsurprising, as Rivera’s team only conducted a voice vote. Also, while the meeting was packed with Rivera supporters, no one is sure how many of these were actual committee members authorized to vote.
The pro-Heastie release, on the other hand, records that “duly elected members” of the committee” voted for a “new slate of officers,” and “all 15 of the 24 of the District Democratic District Leaders that were present, along with all of the new party officers” voted for Heastie. Presumably their votes were recorded, and can be produced and verified should the matter be referred to courts.
“Hundreds of people were brought to the meeting who were not County Committee members in a failed effort to retain control of the Bronx Democratic Party by a small and shrinking faction,” the release continued. “The new slate elected last night, on the other hand, represents a broad and diverse coalition of Bronx elected officials, District Leaders, and County Committee members from every corner of the Bronx and every demographic group.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 29, 2008