Okay, this is getting absurd.
The borough president's race made sense when it was going to be Ruben Diaz Jr. and Joel Rivera, the favorite sons of two longtime Bronx political dynasties, in the fight. It was easy to wrap the brain around those two wrestling over the post, a combination of borough economic development czar, booster and Jewish grandmother. It's a stepping stone for higher office and both men are young and ambitious.
It also sounded like it would be fun to cover: Mr. Diaz and his father, state Senator Ruben Sr., were on their way in the door as part of the coalition that had just taken party power from Mr. Rivera's clan, led by father Jose, the assemblyman.
Then Israel Ruiz Jr. started visiting every newsroom in the borough, resume in hand, to announce his run for ... something. Either beep or City Councilman. The former state senator said he'd run wherever he had a political base strong enough to give him a shot.
Then Mr. Rivera's father reportedly hinted that HE would run, which sounded like a prank at the expense of the reporters who carried that rumor. Then both Mr. Riveras, reportedly, dropped out entirely.
Now nobody seems to know if Councilman Larry Seabrook is really in the race, too.
Not even his staff.
Rather than go crosseyed keeping track of who's saying what and when, we're going to wait until March 16 — when petitioning ends — to give a definitive list of who's in and who's out.
Preliminarily, it looks like Mr. Diaz is going to be lonely on the ballot with the Republican candidate, Anthony Ribustello. We haven't spoken with GOP boss Jay Savino, but county Young Republicans are pow-wowing about carrying petitions for him. So he's likely to make the ballot.
The caveat is that City Councilman Jimmy Vacca tells us the last Republican borough president to be elected in the Bronx was Joseph F. Periconi in 1961. So you figure out for yourself what Mr. Ribustello's odds are of being the guy when the votes are tallied.
Mr. Seabrook's media director said he was definitely running, but she couldn't immediately confirm that he was circulating petitions or say who was carrying them. We're waiting on a call back. Observers have told is it wouldn't be unheard of for Mr. Seabrook to be playing this game just to keep his name in the news.
Petitioning ends March 16, putting Mr. Seabrook at a bit of a disadvantage. He's got to get 4,000 people to sign on to his campaign in order to get on the ballot.
Then again, Mr. Diaz — who's been preparing for this for easily a year — just cranked out 16,000 of them in four days.
Over the last three months, Mr. Rivera's opponents have conjured up all kinds of salacious rumors about why he might drop out: He didn't want his campaign finances that closely inspected; he didn't have the organization to win; the cost of a loss, the latest in a series for his family's political dynasty that includes his sister Naomi's failed attempt to regain control of the political club in her Assembly district, was too high. There's no evidence behind any of them.
In January, he elected to freeze his campaign finances for citywide office, postponing a run at borough president until 2012; the theory in political circles was that Adolfo Carrión Jr.'s departure would make the Campaign Finance Board amenable to allowing him to un-freeze that war chest for this April special election.
An e-mail sent to Mr. Rivera's spokesman, asking if Mr. Rivera would have been able to un-freeze that money to run again in November — which he'd have had to do anyway to keep the post if he won in April — has not yet been returned.
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