An official report from a Bronx County Supreme Court-appointed referee today decreed that Gustavo Rivera’s campaign collected well over the required number of signatures to qualify for this September’s Primary Election and rejected a frivolous challenge made by Pedro Espada’s campaign, dealing the embattled Senator yet another blow.
“Instead of fighting for our community, Pedro Espada tried to intimidate his own constituents and take away our right to vote for change,” said Gustavo Rivera. “But the Bronx is still a democracy and our community will have a chance to elect new leadership on September 14th.”
Rivera continued: “I’ve spent my career fighting for change on behalf of my community and our campaign will continue to fight for that change so that on election day the residents of this great district will have a true public servant as their State Senator.”
The Special Referee, John Ostermann, noted that Gustavo Rivera’s “campaign and petition (are) a model example”.
Last week, Espada’s campaign sent harassing letters to thousands of voters who had signed Rivera’s petitions and subpoenaed dozens of others as part of his last-ditch effort to keep Gustavo Rivera off the ballot.
The Court’s announcement comes on the heels of two major endorsements for Gustavo Rivera. On Monday, two powerful progressive unions, SEIU 32BJ and 1199 SEIU, endorsed Rivera and pledged to make his campaign a top priority.
Since launching his bid for State Senator, Rivera has received endorsements from State Senator Liz Krueger, Bronx Council Members Oliver Koppell and Annabel Palma and a diverse group of elected officials including Melissa Mark-Viverito, Robert Jackson and Jumaane Williams. Other key endorsements include the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, Working Families Party (WFP), 504 Democratic Club, Tenants PAC, the Educational Justice PAC, the Freelancers Union, Stonewall Democratic Club and the New Roosevelt Initiative (NRI), a progressive organization dedicated to developing progressive political leaders and remaking Albany.
The New Roosevelt Initiative hailed Gustavo, saying, “He knows Albany, knows the reforms that need to be made, and he knows how to make them happen… he’ll bring back true integrity and independence to this office.”