By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
With just days to go until the primary, Councilmember Carlos Menchaca has upended the race for Sunset Park’s State Assembly seat by endorsing the challenger over a longtime incumbent.
On Wednesday, Menchaca (D-Sunset Park-Red Hook) announced that he is supporting Ceasar Zuniga in the Democratic Primary for the 51st Assembly District. Zuniga is running against Assemblyman Felix Ortiz in the primary. Ortiz, who was first elected to the assembly in 1994, is running for his 10th term in office.
The assembly district covers Sunset Park and takes in parts of neighboring Bay Ridge. The voter registration in the district is overwhelmingly Democratic, meaning that the winner of Tuesday’s primary is almost a shoo-in to win the general election on Nov. 4.
Menchaca, who startled the political world last year when he won an upset victory over incumbent councilmember Sara Gonzalez in the Democratic Primary and then won election that November, said Zuniga would make a great lawmaker.
“In the City Council I have been working to usher in a new age of progressive politics, and we need to bring that commitment into the assembly. Ceasar is a proven progressive reformer with the experience in the non-profit sector and an effective community leader that we need in Albany,” Menchaca said.
Zuniga said he was grateful for Menchaca’s endorsement and is looking forward to the primary.
“I decided to run because I looked to the North and I looked to the South, and I started to wonder why my district wasn’t getting the same amenities. We are not getting the representation or leadership that we deserve, and I want to change that,” he said.
Zuniga has also been endorsed by the United Federation of Teachers.
The candidate is the director of research and the evaluation for the Parent-Child Home Program, a national early childhood education program.
Meanwhile, Ortiz has picked up an endorsement from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
LongIslandExchange.com reported on Thursday that DiNapoli cited Ortiz’s support of immigrants’ rights as well as his record of service to his constituents as reasons for his endorsement of the 10-term incumbent.