Rajkumar Kicks Off District Leader Re-Election Campaign, Amid Speculation About Silver’s Assembly Seat

rajkumar city hall

Jenifer Rajkumar gathered with supporters at City Hall yesterday to announce her re-election campaign for district leader in Lower Manhattan. As you may recall, she unsuccessfully took on City Council member Margaret Chin a couple of years ago and attracted more than 40% of the vote. There’s been speculation that Rajkumar will challenge Sheldon Silver, the embattled Lower East Side assemblyman, in next year’s Democratic Primary.

During the rally, she was endorsed by U.S. Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, as well as New York City Public Advocate Letitia James. Although they weren’t present yesterday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Manhattan County Leader Keith Wright also endorsed Rajkumar.

Silver, who has represented Lower Manhattan in the Assembly since 1974, was forced to step down as speaker earlier this year. But following his indictment on corruption charges, Silver insisted he would stay on as assemblyman in the 65th District. His trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 2 and could stretch into 2016. If convicted, he would be barred from running for re-election.

When asked about her interest in the position, Rajkumar said she is focused solely on the upcoming district leader race. Her counterpart, Paul Newell, is also a potential candidate for Silver’s seat. He has not made up his mind as of yet but told the Observer it’s something he’s seriously considering. Newell ran against Silver once before, in 2008. He will launch his own district leader campaign with a 40th birthday celebration May 20. In the invitation, he expressed excitement “that our neighborhood, and our State, are poised to enter a new era of inclusive political representation.”


12 comments to Rajkumar Kicks Off District Leader Re-Election Campaign, Amid Speculation About Silver’s Assembly Seat

  • Ali Najmi

    Very impressive list of supporters and a strong showing by Jenifer! She has a bright future ahead of her.

  • Jack Suarez

    A real show of strength by Jenifer Rajkumar, one of the brightest young faces on the downtown political scene. She’s clearly the frontrunner if the Assembly seat opens.

  • Jack Suarez

    And so there’s no confusion from your article, Jenifer Rajkumar got over 40% of the vote against an incumbent in a City Council district heavily weighted against her in her first major race. Since then she has led major initiatives for our community to protect small business owners and has been a promintent voice here with broad support from all quarters. She is a successful civil rights attorney with a great pedigree defending the less fortunate and is invovled in major national causes. Paul Newell got 20% of the vote in 2008 in a lackluster campaign and has accomplished virtually nothing since (although he does copy a lot on Twitter it seems). Why are you even including both in the same discussion??

  • AnonNYC10009

    You guys have very short memories. Jenifer is the one who forged her resume to run for the Council seat and was accused of unlawfully pilfering another law firm law case. She has no ethics whatsoever. What a great replacement for Silver. Ha!

  • Jodi Ochstein

    “I am very proud to be supporting and endorsing Jenifer Rajkumar for reelection as DL in the 65th AD. I’ve known her and I’ve watched her and its clear that whether as a civil rights attorney working on gender discrimination cases or a grassroots community organizer, Jenifer has demonstrated time and again her ability and her interest and her willingness and her energy in building diverse coalitions
    to tackle community problems and to lead. I’ve worked with over the last fewyears and I know firsthand that Jenifer is a very strong voice for families, for tenants, for education, for the community. I am proud to be supporting her today. I can think of no worthier candidate for district leader and I urge everyone to join me and support her as she runs
    for election as District Leader downtown, to continue serving the people so well.” —Congressman Jerry Nadler

  • Jack Suarez

    AnonNYC?!?!? Are you kidding?? What a coward!! Sign in with your real name. And wait for the defamation lawsuit. By the way, MORON, that “pilfered” lawsuit got all the heating and a/c units in Gateway replaced after years of neglect. That “forged” resume nonsense was a NY Post hit piece on her work for young women, which includes serving as a legal advisor to the City’s leading organization protecting battered and abused women. Something Rep. Carolyn Maloney specifically referred to in her endorsement. So take your hatred and insecurity and shove it. What an a**!

  • RoBow

    With Jenifer and Paul, we’re lucky to have 2 good folks who still care about government. I was sooooo unhappy with Chin, still am, that I would have volunteered for whoever ran against her, so I had the chance to get to know Jenifer, and she’s a terrific person. Almost makes you wonder why she’d want to have anything to do with Albany, but if Squadron can do it, so can she. It’s a start. Let’s get more decent people up there!

  • Jim Davidson

    I’ve never really understood the position of a District Leader. But I have seen Jenifer consistently use the position to advocate for us downtown. I’ve cast my vote for her twice and I look forward to doing it again.

  • Micah

    Dear astroturfers (also @disqus_z3m13jRBr2:disqus , who’s not an astroturfer):

    Can you provide any concrete examples of the “major initiatives” Rajkumar has “led,” or how she has used her district leader position to “consistently advocate for us downtown,” or what exactly she worked on with Nadler so closely? I’m not saying she hasn’t done those things. Just curious what they are as I haven’t followed her that closely.

  • Jodi Ochstein

    @disqus_djLwsoTEww:disqus , Please read the Downtown Post article on Rajkumar’s kick off. Specifically;
    “Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney praised Rajkumar as ‘an outstanding leader for her constituency,’ citing her work to end the contemporary slave trade of human trafficking that has resulted in ‘the
    strongest state anti-trafficking legislation in the country.’ In Battery Park City, said Maloney, Rajkumar has fought ‘to preserve usable open space in the community and to save the North Cove Marina’ and ‘has built a permanentgrassroots network to continue voicing the community’s priorities and concerns
    to the Battery Park City Authority.’ She also said that Rajkumar had helped top ersuade the MTA to restore the M9 bus route linking the Lower East Side to Battery Park City. ‘Now that’s a big thing,’ Maloney said. ‘That wasn’t easy to change.’ Public Advocate Letitia James said that Rajkumar had worked with the office of Public Advocate on a wide variety of issues. ‘When we focused on the state of our public health system, we reached out to Jenifer,’ James said. ‘She was a part of our effort when we sponsored town halls all across the City of New York on mayoral control of our public school system.” Congressman Jerry Nadler said that Rajkumar had “demonstrated time and again her ability and her interest and her willingness and her energy in building diverse coalitions to tackle community problems and to lead.’”
    Also, there is this article in The Broadsheet:
    “Local Heroine” describing Rajkumar’s background and achievements: http://ebroadsheet.com/Entries/2015/5/6_District_Leader_Rajkumar_Kicks_Off_Bid_for_Reelection.html

  • RoBow

    Micah, I see that others have answered your question, but I just want to say that DL’s don’t have a lot of power, so even if she did nothing, I’d be fine with that, because she is such a smart person and a rational, sane leader when so many of them are wackos. I know that she’s going to do many terrific things in the future as long as the mud of the bad ones doesn’t taint her.