Correction Officers Union endorses in Council primary races

Laura Nahmias | POLITICO

The Correction Officers' Benevolent Association on Friday released a list of 23 City Council candidates the union is endorsing in the Sept. 12 primary elections.

The union has more than 20,000 active and retired members, and current president Elias Husamudeen has vocally opposed Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to close Rikers Island within the next ten years and replace it with smaller jails in the five boroughs.

Council members' willingness to site new jails within their districts will be instrumental in the closure plan's success.

Two of the incumbent Democratic Council members the correction officers' union endorsed — Staten Island Councilwoman Debi Rose and Bronx Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson — represent districts where a Rikers Island Commission recommended replacement jails be located. Neither is fully supportive of de Blasio's plan. Rose openly opposes the Rikers closure plan, while Gibson supports the idea, but has demurred on questions of whether she would allow one in her district.

The union did not endorse any candidates in the other three districts where jails were proposed — seats currently held by Councilmembers Steve Levin, Margaret Chin and Karen Koslowitz.

In Manhattan's Council District 4, the seat Dan Garodnick will leave after he's term-limited out of office this year, COBA endorsed Jeffrey Mailman. It's backing Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez to fill Melissa Mark-Viverito's seat in Council District 8.

In Queens, the union is backing candidate Alison Tan over incumbent Peter Koo, and Assemblyman Francisco Moya over former State Sen. Hiram Monserrate in the closely-watched race to fill the seat being vacated by Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.

In the Bronx's District 18, the seat being vacated by Annabel Palma, the union is backing conservative Democrat State Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr. over a field of other candidates, including Elvin Garcia, a former aide to Bill de Blasio.

For the District 13 seat out of which Jimmy Vacca will be term-limited, the union is backing Democrat Mark Gjonaj.

In Queens Council District 23, the officers picked Republican challenger Joseph Concannon over incumbent Democrat Barry Grodenchik.

And in Council District 38, the seat currently held by Carlos Menchaca, the union is backing Assemblyman Felix Ortiz. In the open seat being vacated by Democrat Vinnie Gentile, the union is backing Republican candidate John Quaglione over a large field of both Republican and Democratic challengers. .

The union endorsed incumbent Council Members Bill Perkins, Mark Levine, Fernando Cabrera, Vanessa Gibson, Paul Vallone, Rory Lancman, Liz Crowley, Daneek Miller, Eric Ulrich, Rafael Espinal, Robert Cornegy, Debi Rose, Steve Matteo and Joe Borelli.