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Assemblyman Castro Reflects on Great Victory

October 7, 2010

CASTRO

ASSEMBLYMAN NELSON CASTRO (PHOTO: A. WATKINS)

By JAMES FERGUSSON

Last month, Assemblyman Nelson Castro fought off a primary challenge from Hector Ramirez, a district leader who’d received the support of the Bronx Democratic Party, Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., and several large unions.

In what was the tightest race in the borough, Castro secured 54 percent of the vote to Ramirez’s 46.

Reached by phone the following week, Castro was in high spirits. “I feel great. It’s a great victory,” he said. “Now going back to Albany, I have a lot of expectations. I’m not a freshman anymore and so I should be able to ask for more and deliver more for my district.”

Castro, who pulled in few big endorsements himself, put his victory down to voters knowing him, liking him, and recognizing what he’s done in the community.

While his opponent focused on attacking him (mailers were sent to voters reminding them of Castro’s checkered past which includes voter fraud investigation), Castro says he was out there talking to people.

“All the negative stuff they did, they did to cover up the fact that he [Ramirez] hasn’t done anything in the community,” Castro said.

Sherman Browne, a former aide to ex-Councilwoman Maria Baez, who worked on Castro’s campaign, said they successfully identified his supporters and then made sure they voted. “We took a personal approach,” Browne said.

Said Castro: “I myself even went out and picked up a couple of older ladies and drove them to the polls.”

On primary night, Ramirez held what was supposed to be a victory party at a small restaurant on East Tremont Avenue. In the end, though, it was a rather somber occasion.

“Whatever happens tonight, I am not going to move from the District 86,” said Ramirez. “I’m going to continue to fight to improve the quality of life for the people that live in the District 86, and the Bronx, and New York State.”

Assemblyman Carl Heastie, the chair of the Bronx Democratic Party, said: “We need to give Hector a lot of credit. He ran tremendous race. It’s tough to beat an incumbent. Incumbency is a powerful tool.”

On Nov. 2 Castro will face Republican Rene Santos and Conservative Lisa Marie Campbell.

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