State Senator Adriano Espaillat led a group of supporters up Broadway Saturday afternoon, looking for attention and votes ahead of Tuesday’s 13th Congressional District primary. The Espaillat caravan included about 50-75 walkers and 20-25 cars, all led by the flag-bedecked Espaillat campaign bus. The caravan began with a public endorsement of Espaillat by State Senator Bill Perkins who, together with Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez and Mark Levine, joined Espaillat for the walk uptown.
The race to succeed Charles Rangel has become increasingly racially driven in the past several days, with numerous allegations of impropriety. In a brief pre-walk Q&A with reporters Perkins dismissed allegations by Assembly Member Keith Wright that Espaillat and his supporters are trying to suppress African American voter participation in the Tuesday election. Espaillat stood by silently as Perkins spoke, only offering that he’s asked the Department of Justice to monitor the election in order to “make sure that everybody has access to vote unimpeded.”
Espaillat’s reception was good, but not overwhelming, as he walked up Broadway from 135th. The very modest reaction in the first 10-15 blocks increased as he passed through the northern stretch of Harlem and into the heavily Dominican Washington Heights. Cheers and shouts rang out further uptown, with some downtown drivers rolling down their windows to shake hands with the uptown traveling candidate. There were no signs or displays of support for any of the many other candidates in this election. The only contrary expression (at least as far as a non-Spanish speaking reporter could discern) was a small group of men near 175th Street chanting “Trump, Trump, Trump.”