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Rift widens among former Lopez acolytes

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The old Vito Lopez Democratic machine continues to crumble.

Assemblywoman Maritza Davila (D–Bushwick), an acolyte of the disgraced Brooklyn Democratic party boss, will endorse Bernie Sanders-styled democratic socialist Debbie Medina over incumbent and longtime Lopez ally state Sen. Martin Malave Dilan (D–Bushwick) in a race for the 18th State Senate District, sources said.

Davila did not return multiple requests for comment, but Medina confirmed the endorsement and said they are campaigning together.

“We collected petitions together, and we are going to be knocking on doors together,” said Medina. “I truly believe that she feels the same way I feel, we need to protect the people in our community. We have the same views.”

Lopez was Assemblyman and the county’s party chairman but resigned from the legislature in late 2012 after the Assembly found he sexually harassed female staffers. Davila won a 2013 special election to fill the his seat — indeed, she was his hand-picked successor. But there was a falling-out shortly thereafter, and Davila and Lopez did not petition together in 2014, when she sought reelection and he won 53rd district committeeman, a local politico said. Lopez died in late 2015.

Now Davila is turning her back on Dilan, the 14-year senator and close ally to Lopez.

Davila has held a grudge ever since Dilan supported a different candidate to fill Lopez’s vacated assembly seat in 2013, the senator said. Dilan invited Davila to discuss district politics as a way to unite all the local pols, but every time they get together, she just brings up old issues, he said. If Davila chooses to endorse Medina “that’s her prerogative,” but it must stem from personal feelings not political, said Dilan.

But Dilan still has support among the party, he said. Son Assemblyman Erik Dilan (D-Bushwick) and Councilman Rafael Espinal (D-Bushwick) — the first councilman to endorse Medina’s political hero Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary — have his back.

The councilman’s pulling for Sanders does not indicate his support of Medina — he’s solidly in Dilan’s corner, Espinal said.

“When I endorsed Bernie Sanders, my decision was based on the values and principles he has been fighting for on behalf of the people of this country,” said Espinal. “Sen. Martin Dilan does the same for the people of his district. He has taken progressive positions on all of the bills and issues that came across his desk.

But Espinal admits there’s a rift in the district.

“There is a divide, and it exists because of the misinformation about Sen. Dilan’s record, but the truth is that he has spent his career in Albany fighting for the needs of Brooklynit­es,” he said.

Dilan edged out Medina 5,533 to 4,061 in a 2014 Democratic primary for the seat. The 2016 primary is Sept. 13.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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Reader feedback

Mike from Williamsburg says:
No differences on issues. Just political grudges. How is someone without an axe to grind to know whom to vote for?
July 7, 2016, 9:10 am

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