Harlem State Senator Bill Perkins is running for re-election this fall, and he could be in serious trouble.
This situation is a nightmare for any incumbent. There apparently won’t be any split of the opposition vote after Larry Blackmon-a deputy city parks commissioner has backed out of the race, and there’s the question of the role Mayor Bloomberg will play. Directly or indirectly.
Political consultant Basil Smikle –generally a well liked guy known for keeping the pulse of the community- will run against Perkins in the Democratic primary this fall – mainly challenging Perkins opposition to charter schools.
This while Bloomberg has all but targeted Perkins as public enemy number one and recently took shots at him on charter schools for attending "elite private schools" and says Perkins has been "violently" against choice for parents.
Quoting the mayor from his radio show:
"Bill Perkins is a guy who went to elite private schools, and he represents a district where most people can’t afford elite private schools, and charter schools are their opportunity to get their kids a great education.
"I think the numbers are something – there’s 10,000 places this year – more places for charter schools, and there’s something like 50 or 60,000 applicants for the 10,000 places."
"Perkins has been violently against it while the educators and the public and the parents want more of."
Keep in mind, Smikle worked as a consultant on Bloomberg’s re-election campaign.
It will be interesting to see what the Harlem political establishment does? Perkins is not liked by Harlem politicians. Will they help him, or turn their back.
But don't think this will be a walk in the park for Smikle.
This is Smikle's–a former top aide to Hillary Clinton, first run for office and from interviewing Perkins live numerous times, and covering him from his initial days as a community activist, (when he stood up for residents of a major fire on 110th street) Perkins is not someone to sleep on.