Power stakes in 31st district primary

By Tom Piccolo

A political coup that changed the power dynamic in Albany five years ago is still playing out in today’s primary race for legislative seats.

“The fate of the State Senate could be in the balance, depending on who wins,” says Ross Barkan, who has written about the race for The Village Voice.

In 2011, The Independent Democratic Conference, a group of five Democratic Senators led by State Senator Jeff Klein, defected from the traditional Democratic Conference to align with the Republicans. Their change in allegiance was a power play designed to give the IDC a seat at the table with the Senate Republicans who then held a slim majority.

After the 2012 election, the Democrats secured enough seats to win back the majority. However, in a surprising twist, the IDC chose to remain with the G.O.P., and maintain control of the Senate for Republicans.

Now, Marisol Alcantara, the Democratic nominee for Senate District 31 endorsed by former Senator Adriano Espaillat, has been connected to the rogue conference.

“Alcantara’s mentor is Espaillat,” says Barkan. “He was never in the IDC, but he’s always had a good working relationship with Klein.”

Barkan went on to point out that Alcantara has received money on the IDC’s behalf. Last month, Klein donated $7,000 to her campaign, the maximum amount a contributor is allowed to give.

Alcantara’s camp has been coy regarding which conference they plan to join if she should win, but that hasn’t stopped her political opponents from using it as ammunition against her. Whether those tactics help sway voters away from Alcantara will be revealed Tuesday night.


Republican Girodes runs a third time for state senate

Jon Girodes attends an event for the Women’s National Republicans Club. Credit: Campaign website

By Tom Piccolo

Jon Girodes is hoping the third time is the charm for his bid to represent heavily Democratic Harlem in the statehouse. 

Girodes, 39, is running as a Republican for State Senate in Manhattan’s 30th District, where he will square off against incumbent Bill Perkins in November for the second time in two years. 

In 2014, Girodes came up short, garnering 4.6 percent of the vote to Perkins’ 87 percent. In 2010, prior to 2012 redistricting, he ran for State Senator of District 28 against incumbent Jose Serrano. He won 7 percent of the vote, compared to Serrano’s 91 percent.

Girodes and his two brothers were raised by their single mother in East Harlem. He graduated from Northeastern University in 2000 with a finance/economics degree. Since 2007, he has worked as the founder and CEO of Girodes Incorporated, a tax accounting firm that also provides credit and debt counseling services.

Girodes has raised $0 for his campaign, according to the state Board of Elections. He also has a GoFundMe page that has no contributions.

“They call me Trump Junior,” says Girodes, referring to his candid, “meat-and-potatoes” personality.

Campaign Platform

  • Will cut down on long-term government assistance programs to promote financial independence
  • Will work to improve air quality and water potability
  • Strongly supports charter schools
  • Pledges to “provide fair and even distribution of affordable housing to those in need”
  • Will improve roads by filling potholes