A Weprin Swap: David to run for Assembly

| pdavis@queenscourier.com |

It looks like a Weprin switcheroo in Queens.

The 24th Assembly District in northeast Queens may be trading one Weprin for another as outgoing City Councilmember David Weprin announced that he will run for his brother Mark’s vacant Assembly seat.

David, who decided not to seek re-election to the City Council and ran a failed bid for City Comptroller earlier this year, said he will run in a yet-to-be-called Special Election for the Assembly seat that will likely take place in February or March. The Assembly seat is open because Mark was elected to the City Council in November, and he will take over the seat David held for the past eight years.

“I know the community, and I know what’s involved with the job and the legislative process,” David told The Courier. “I’m looking forward to serving the community and continuing public service.”

After David finished a distant fourth in this year’s September Democratic primary for City Comptroller, talk about his future plans immediately heated up. David said that State Senate Democratic Conference Committee Chair John Sampson and Senate President Malcolm Smith both approached him and asked if he would be interested in running against longtime Republican State Senator Frank Padavan in 2010.

Although David said he considered running, he decided that with the Special Election for the Assembly seat coming up in early 2010, he wanted to focus his energy on that. However, he did say that if the Senate Democrats did not find another candidate to take on Padavan, he would listen to them again.

“In politics, you never say never, but it’s not on my radar screen now,” said Weprin, who made the announcement on Thursday, November 19 at a joint meeting of the Saul Weprin and Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Clubs.

Although David is seen as the prohibitive favorite for the open Assembly seat, Democrat Bob Friedrich, who is the President of the Glen Oaks Village Co-op, said he is seriously considering accepting an invitation from the Republican Party to run on its line in the special election.

“I think the voters are being manipulated by what I call this orchestrated swap of seats,” said Friedrich, who called the “switch” offensive.

Friedrich said that when the Governor calls for a special election, it is up to the District Leaders to nominate who will run for the seat. In the case of the 24th Assembly District – two of the four District Leaders are Mark and David Weprin.

“Democrats like myself have been completely eliminated from the process,” Friedrich said.

If David is elected to the Assembly, he will continue a tradition of having a Weprin in the Assembly. David and Mark’s father, Saul Weprin, served in the Assembly from 1971 through 1994, including serving as Speaker for the last four years. When Saul died in 1994, Mark successfully ran for his seat and served in the Assembly for the past 15 years.

Meanwhile, David believes his experience in the City Council and the fact that he is taking over Mark’s seat bode well for both him and the community.

“I hope to hit the ground running and be more than a regular freshman Assemblyman,” Weprin said.