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Nelson Denis Runs for State Senate

By Jose B. Rivera

Former State Assemblyman, Nelson Antonio Denis declared his candidacy for State Senate on Thursday, April 22, 2004.  He declared in typical Nelson Denis fashion, at the Yorkville Democratic club at 225 East 93rd Street.  The club endorsed Mr. Denis by an overwhelming vote over Jose Serrano Jr, from the Bronx, and East Harlem District Leader and former fireman John Ruiz. Mr. Denis outlined his platform and shared his experience as a State Assemblyman who represented East Harlem from 1996 until 2000.  He also mentioned his impressive credentials as a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School.

The Yorkville endorsement was very significant, since the state Democratic Party is actively seeking the strongest candidate to run and win against incumbent State Senator Olga Mendez, who switched parties from Democratic to Republican in December 2003. Mr. Denis received all but one vote from the Yorkville Democratic club.  That lone vote went to his opponent District Leader John Ruiz.

It will be very interesting to see how former Assemblyman Nelson Denis changes the dynamic of the State Senate race in East Harlem.  Mr. Denis is very popular in the community and still garners a lot of support, as does incumbent State Senator Olga Mendez. 

Mr. Ruiz has picked a bad time to run for higher office.  His candidacy is like a saber tooth tiger caught between two woolly mammoths.  You my dear reader can guess the outcome.

Ultimately it will be a battle between two very tough and tenacious candidates.  None is a push over and none is likely to wither under the pressure of the horrific battle to come.  Because former Assemblyman Denis and State Senator Mendez are so loved in this community, this campaign will be both fascinating and hard for alot of us to watch.

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