Candidate backs Espada opponent in NYS Senate race

September 7, 2010 3:24:03 PM PDT
Controversial State Senator Pedro Espada is facing an even tougher challenge in his race for re-election. His main challenger, Gustavo Rivera, has received a major endorsement from another candidate in the race.

"I believe by joining with Gustavo Rivera and creating a united democratic front we can unseat Pedro Espada," Dan Padernacht said.

Padernacht dropped out of the campaign for New York State Senate and threw his support to Rivera.

Espada swears he's not worried.

"All the manipulation and calculation of some numbers and people in a backroom wont' change the results of September 14th. The only thing that can defeat Pedro Espada is if people stay home," the majority leader said.

It's the latest blow for Espada, who is now being sued. The New York Attorney General's Office has accused him of embezzling 13-million from his Bronx clinic.

The feds are investigating and an indictment may be coming soon.

Many New Yorkers also blame him for the mess in Albany. He was one of the instigators of that coup from last summer that shut down the state capitol.

"But I wouldn't vote for him whatsoever you know because of what I've heard about him," voter Dorothy Smith said. "I don't know if it's true or not, but I go by what I heard."

While some voters in the northwest Bronx may not like what they've heard about Espada, he still has supporters who blasted what they call an anti-Pedro conspiracy. "I think all along it was a fight with all the unions and everybody going against Pedro. All along it was a fight," Assemblyman Jose Rivera said.

And now that fight may have become a whole lot easier for Gustavo Rivera.

"Because the main distinction between Mr. Espada and myself, I want to be accountable to the people of this district. I want to work for the people of the district. Pedo Espada has forgotten who we works for," Gustavo Rivera said.