Incumbent Arroyo Pummels Both Primary Challengers

Panels and campaign volunteers promoted Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo throughout the South Bronx. (VALENTINE PASQUESOONE / The Bronx Ink)

Longtime incumbent New York State Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo captured 53 percent of the  Democratic primary vote by late Thursday night., despite two spirited bids to unseat her.  Challengers Maximino Rivera, a community activist, and Charles Serrano, a former police officer, split the remaining votes 25 percent to 22 percent.

Arroyo, whose campaign volunteers were not available for comment last night while votes were being tallied, will likely continue representing the 84thdistrict that includes Highbridge, Longwood, Melrose, Mott Haven, Port Morris and Hunts Point neighborhoods after election day Nov. 6. There has yet to be a Republican challenger for the seat.

Her opponents criticized her lengthy tenure that has not been free from scandal.

“She’s been there too long,” Rivera said of Arroyo. “It’s time for her to go.”

Both opponents faced challenges staying afloat in the race against Arroyo, whose ties to party politics are well established. The Rivera and Serrano camps said the Arroyo campaign unsuccessfully challenged the signatures on their petitions, which slowed down their campaign timetables.

“It’s a real battle just to get on the machine,” said Jose Velez, who was raised in the South Bronx and ran for male district leader of the Serrano campaign.

After getting past that hurdle, Rivera and Serrano focused on presenting alternatives to Arroyo. Rivera, a former Post Office employee and community organizer, ran a lively campaign. Rivera’s sister Maria Chompre said the campaign had a 30-person core comprised of family and friends. Rivera campaigned for Arroyo during a previous race, and said he did so only because he favored Arroyo over her opponent.

Maximino Rivera believed it was time for longtime pol Carmen Arroyo to step down. (VALENTINE PASQUESOONE / The Bronx Ink)

Serrano, who was part of the New York City Police Department for 25 years, campaigned on the promise to push for term limits for all state-level representatives. He also focused on housing, senior citizen issues and crime, with an emphasis on gun violence.

Both challengers are Vietnam veterans. Both complained that Arroyo has become complacent after almost two decades in office.

“Carmen was a very good activist, but for the last eight to ten years she’s been missing in action,” Rivera said.

Arroyo disclosed $4028 in campaign contributions. Rivera and Serrano did not file financial reports.

Candidate Charles Serrano and district leader candidate Jose Velez said getting on the ballot was not easy. (VALENTINE PASQUESOONE / The Bronx Ink)

Low voter turnout did not help the challengers to Arroyo’s seat. Serrano said people’s focus lay elsewhere, even though the primary campaign was important because the results decided who would win this seat in the general election. “People want to vote, they don’t really know when they have to vote,” Serrano said, “They’re only thinking about  November 6.”

For those who did make it to a polls, change was an important factor. Evelyn V. Figueroa, a nurse from the Melrose section of the Bronx, said she wanted to see crime decrease and access to housing and healthcare increase. She said she had not seen any improvements in these categories in the 10 years she has been living in the area.

“This is like a lottery game,” Figueroa said. “We’ll see what happens. I definitely hope there will be some change.

 

 

 

Newswire

  • Suspect In Bronx Explosion Arrested

    A suspect has been arrested in connection to the Kingsbridge explosion on Tuesday that killed FDNY Batallian Chief Michael Fahy and injured 12 others. The suspect, Julio Salcedo, 34, is thought to be a tenant of the destroyed marijuana grow house, he was arrested on an outstanding misdemeanor warrant, according to DNA Info.  

  • FDNY Battalion Chief Killed After House Explosion In Kingsbridge

      An explosion of a Kingsbridge house in the Bronx killed a FDNY battalion chief and injured at least 12 others on Tuesday morning. Authorities responded to a 6:20 am call about a gas leak in the neighborhood, which was initially believed to be the cause of the explosion. But law enforcement now think the […]

  • Bronx Documentary Center To Host World-Class Photo Exhibit

    World Press Photo Award winner Eugene Richards will hold his new exhibit, “Below the Line: Living Poor in America by Eugene Richards,” in the Bronx Documentary Center from October 1st through November 6th. “The audience in the Bronx will come in and have a different read to the pictures and many will have a closer relation to […]

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on Facebook