Bushwick councilman drops out of Borough President race

Official NYC Council Photo by Emil Cohen

Bushwick Councilman Rafael Espinal dropped out of the Borough President’s race on Thursday, saying he couldn’t endure another two years campaigning for the beep’s hotly contested seat.

“While my dream has been to serve as the Brooklyn Borough President and lead the Borough forward, my heart wasn’t in the idea of spending the next two years running for office,” he told the Brooklyn Paper. 

The north Brooklyn legislator had amassed a meager war-chest of only $11,649, raising only $4,444 since announcing his candidacy in September and suspending fundraising efforts in November. 

Espinal’s sudden dropout coincides with the circulation of rumors about First Lady Chirlane McCray mulling a run for the office, as reported in the Daily News. 

McCray’s’s entry into the race would complicate things for Bed-Stuy Councilman Robert Cornegy, who is currently seen as the likely front-runner, by splitting the moderate, mostly black central Brooklyn vote. 

Espinal denied the increased competition in the race factoring into his decision. 

“Many different factors played into my decision, but it was not influenced by the dynamics of the election,” he said. 

Fellow north Brooklyn lawmaker Antonio Reynoso is still vying for an office in Borough Hall, while Councilman Chaim Deutsch and Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon are also said to be mulling a run, according to the News. 

Espinal, whose term is limited out in 2021, says he is currently pursuing another opportunity, but declined to offer specifics. 

“I will have more information to share with the public in the next few weeks,” he said.