If Queens State Senator Hiram Monserrate manages to keep his job in Albany, he’ll have another fight on his hands next year, as Democratic Assemblymember Jose Peralta announced he will challenge Monserrate in a 2010 Democratic primary.
Peralta said he made the decision to run for Monserrate’s District 13 Senate seat at the urging of many of his constituents, who have encouraged him to enter the race.
“They’re tired, they’re frustrated, they’re embarrassed with what’s going on with the senator,” Peralta told The Courier. “People are frustrated and above all, the needs of our communities are not being met because he is so busy dealing with his own issues.”
Peralta said it was not an easy decision to make, but after talking it over with supporters and his family, he believes it was the one he had to make.
“I would be giving up a safe seat to make this run, [but] I came to the conclusion I need to run [because] the Senate District is under-represented [and] it has been shortchanged,” Peralta said. “It’s going to be a $1 million campaign easily. There’s a lot of excitement and electricity in the air.”
On Thursday, October 29, Peralta appeared at the Queens County Democratic Organization’s annual dinner, where party boss Congressmember Joseph Crowley praised him and announced the party’s full support for the Assemblymember.
“The community is ready to move on,” said Crowley, who called for Monserrate to step down the day after Queens Judge William Erlbaum handed down the verdict in Monserrate’s assault trial. The judge found Monserrate guilty of one misdemeanor account of reckless assault, and his sentencing date is scheduled for December 4.
The State Senate has formed its own committee to investigate what, if any, punishment Monserrate should receive.
The Queens County Democratic Organization, which supported Monserrate in a 2006 primary against then-incumbent Democratic Senator John Sabini, overwhelmingly made the decision to drop its support for Monserrate and back Peralta instead.
During the Democratic dinner, which party leaders from throughout the borough attended, it was not just Peralta and Crowley in the spotlight. Monserrate made the rounds in the room, talking to leaders and chatting with reporters.
“The people of Queens will be able to see through the politics,” Monserrate said. “I look forward to taking my clear list of my accomplishments to the public.”
Meanwhile, Peralta said that it is not just the domestic violence rap that has people in the community upset with Monserrate’s leadership.
“Whether it’s the personal issues or the coup or this melodrama that keeps going and going, there’s no end,” Peralta said.