Diaz May Join Race to Replace Serrano in Congress
By David Greene
NEW YORK- With his City Council seat barely broken in since his 2017 victory, Councilman Ruben Diaz, Sr., 75, is expected to announce his bid to run for the U.S. Congressional– or not, a seat being vacated by longtime representative Jose Serrano.
On April 4, a source recalled a clergy meeting a week earlier, claiming, “He (Diaz, Sr.) had a meeting with all the Spanish pastors… and he announced he’s planning on running for Congress. He said he’s going to be running for the seat held by Serrano, instead of dealing with the City Council’s crap.”
Diaz has so far come under fire by many of his City Council colleagues, for his writings in a monthly newsletter and his recent anti gay statements.
Initially believing the source was referring to Diaz’ son, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., sparking the younger Diaz’ chief of staff John DeSio to respond, “The borough president is not running for congress. Whoever told you that doesn’t understand, that’ll never happen.”
One political insider referenced an April 5 article in City & State, noting, “It mentions Diaz, Jr., running for mayor. Ruben’s not running for that (congress), he’s not even running for comptroller, he wants mayor.
“If he was smart, Ruben sito would run for Comptroller and get his name spread around the city the next four or eight years, and then he’d be in a position to run for mayor. Right now he’s just another number in the field. He doesn’t want to wait and he’s going to find himself out in never, never land.”
The same source said of Diaz, Sr., “This is Diaz’ bullshit vanity. Listen, he got out of Albany because he was tired of schlepping to Albany. You think he wants to schlep to Washington?”
However, on April 6, Leila Martinez, Diaz’ chief of staff confirmed, “I just spoke with him, he told me he will announce he’s running for that (congress) next Saturday the 13th at his minister’s banquet. He announces Saturday, that’s what he told me.”
Former assemblyman Michael Benjamin, now working with the Bronx Chronicle, posted a poll on Diaz, Sr., Facebook page that showed the older Diaz, handily beating newcomer Samelys Lopez 606 – 197, for the seat in the 15 Congressional District.
The elder Diaz was reached by telephone on April 8, to confirm the confirmation that he is indeed running for the seat that represents Fordham Heights, Morisannia, Soundview and Hunts Point.
Diaz, Sr., said, “I don’t know. We’ll make an announcement. I don’t know what’s going to happen. We’re going to make an announcement on Saturday.”
Pressed again for clarity, he added, “I don’t know. I will say yes or no on Saturday. I have things to do.”
If Diaz, Sr., were to decide to run he would likely not just face Ms. Lopez as a primary challenger, but a slew of established candidates, possibly including Assemblyman Michael Blake, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Hawk Newsome of Black Lives Matter, Senator Gustavo Rivera and Senator Luis Sepulveda to name just a few.
Serrano, who announced on March 25, that he is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, would likely support a run by his former district director, 28 year-old Amanda Septimo, if she decided to run.
In his announcement, Serrano stated, “I’ve come to the realization that Parkinson’s will eventually take a toll, and that I cannot predict its rate of advancement. Because of this uncertainty, I do not intend to seek re-election in 2020.”
After 29 years representing the borough in Washington, Serrano added, “I am extremely proud of the work we did to revitalize the Bronx River, (and) to bring billions of federal dollars to our borough.”