By Michael Horowitz
BRONX, NEW YORK, November 8- Labor organizer Andy King rolled to an overwhelming victory in Tuesday's special election for the City Council in a district that includes Co-op City, as well as the Baychester, Edenwald, and Wakefield communities.
King, with his victory, will immediately take the seat that had been left vacant when Larry Seabrook was convicted on federal-corruption charges.
Next year, there will be another City Council contest in the 12th Councilmanic District, this time for a four-year term in office.
King could not be reached for comment on Tuesday morning.
In Tuesday's contest, King, with organized backing from key labor unions and from virtually the entire Bronx Democratic Party establishment, easily prevailed in a race against five other candidates.
In a bit of a surprise, Pamela Johnson, an organizer of youth and senior-citizen program in the Eastchester area, reportedly finished second in the six-candidate contest.
Other losing candidates in the 12th Councilmanic District race included Cheryl Oliver, a long-time aide to Rep. Jose Serrano and Co-op City shareholder who had the backing of State Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson and political activists Frederick Lewis II and Carrie Mobley; Garth Marchant, a former Albany correspondent for WLIB; Neville Mitchell, a civil-rights attorney, and Rev. Joseph Nwachukwu, a long-time minister and welfare department supervisor and caseworker.
King, a long-time organizer of youths in the Baychester/Edenwald area, first came to the Co-op City public's attention in 2009, when Seabrook handily defeated him in a Democratic Party Primary that was held five months before the long-time legislator's indictment in Federal Court.
King had geared up for the 2009 election for the City Council thinking that Seabrook, like Mayor Michael Bloomberg, would be forced to give up his seat because of term limit for city officeholders.
However, when the City Council voted to overturn term limits, Seabrook, like Bloomberg and other city officeholders, was allowed to run for reelection.
In this year's contest against a field of candidates who were not as well-known as he was, King had a huge organizational advantage against his opponents, Marlene Smith, a retired organizer for Local 1199 of the hospital workers' union, stressed on Wednesday morning.
Smith, a key organizer in King's candidacy, stressed, this week, “Andy King, unlike many other candidates who lose a race, didn't run away and hide after Larry Seabrook beat him. He continued to work, harder than ever, on behalf of the people in the neighborhoods who make up the 12th Councilmanic District.”
Smith added, “This year's race was a good race. I worked my butt off, but so did a number of other retired organizers for Local 1199 and a number of other unions. We were out there for Andy King because he's been out there, for years, for people in the neighborhoods that make up the 12th Councilmanic District.”
Smith noted, “Andy King, after Hurricane Sandy, was the only candidate who was out around the neighborhoods of the 12th Councilmanic District in an effort to help people who lost power during the storm. I predict that the people in the 12th Councilmanic District are going to love Andy (King) because he, unlike some other elected officials in our area, will be out there in varied efforts to help his constituents.”
The long-time organizer for Local 1199 added, “State Senator4 Hassell-Thompson made a bad political move by backing Cheryl Oliver against Andy (King), and Cheryl (Oliver) made a bad political move by running in this race.”
Smith concluded, “The long and the short of it is that we out-organized the other candidates in the City Council race. That's how you win in politics. That's how Andy King, and that's how President Obama won, too.”