By Bill Parry
Former City Councilman and state Sen. Hiram Monserrate won an election to become Democratic district leader last Thursday in East Elmhurst.
Monserrate defeated incumbent George R. Dixon by 329 votes to take the position as an unpaid, volunteer party official. The election was the second time Monserrate campaigned against Dixon for the post, having lost in 2016 by just 57 votes.
Monserrate declined to comment until the city Board of Elections certifies the results, according to his spokesman.
District leaders identify and champion the community’s needs before elected officials and government agencies. They also work with community organizations like block associations and government agencies.
Monserrate has failed in several elections over the years as he tried to stage a political comeback after he was expelled from the state Senate in 2009 after he was convicted of the misdemeanor assault of his girlfriend.
He later served two years in prison after being convicted of a felony on conspiracy and mail fraud charges for misusing $100,000 in City Council grants to fund a political campaign for the Senate.
Monserrate has seen support in East Elmhurst and LeFrak City despite his troubled past, but it wasn’t enough to help him win an election last year against City Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Corona). The two fought a contentious battle to replace the retiring Julissa Ferreras Copeland that saw Moya captured 55.6 percent of the vote, while Monserrate tallied 44.4 percent.
Moya’s office declined to comment on Monserrate winning the district leader post.
In the run up to the election against Moya, Monserrate told TimesLedger Newspapers he was running because “this is my borough and someone has to be a voice piece for the community.”
For now he waits for the election to be certified by the BOE, which is expected to occur before the end of September
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr