Assembly member Vito Lopez was forced to give up his housing committee chairmanship and resign as the head of Brooklyn’s Democratic Party last August, following accusations of sexual harassment by female staffers. But the shamed former chairman, who has been a major advocate of affordable housing and Brooklyn development, has managed to hold onto his legislative seat despite the many calls from his resignation.
According to the New York Daily News, as Lopez takes the next few months to evaluate his plans to seek re-election, he has the opportunity to play kingmaker to his successor.
“It’s definitely his last term,” a political pundit familiar with the district told the Daily News. “The question is whether he serves out the full term or whether he resigns after he gets sworn in and gives the seat to one of his people.”
Known for helping his friends, Lopez’s possible successors include City Councilmen Steve Levin (D-Greenpoint) and Erik Martin Dilan (D-East New York).
However, some political insiders believe that Lopez has no intention of handing over his seat and is preparing to make a comeback. “I don’t think it’s in his personality to concede defeat or give up representing his district,” political consultant Evan Thies said. [NYDN] —Christopher Cameron