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