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The Obstructionist


The Men Who Would Be Shelly

They both say it’s time for change. The Democratic-primary upstarts challenging the guy who runs the old neighborhood.


L.E.S. Cred: Lived with roommates in Chinatown for the last ten years; was a Yiddish archivist at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research; speaks fluent Spanish.
Political Coming Of Age: Worked for Bill Bradley’s presidential campaign and is a delegate for Barack Obama. Spent the last seven years running a nonprofit called the Ubuntu Education Fund, which fosters education and AIDS outreach in South Africa.
Also: Buys his suits on eBay.
When He Decided To Run:In 2004, Newell says he was frustrated by Silver’s grip on the Assembly and was surprised there was no opponent to vote for on Primary Day. BlogPAC, a national consortium of progressive bloggers, supports him.
Strategy: Appeal to the reform-minded post-ethnics who now populate the neighborhood. Expects the blogosphere youth turning out for Obama to come out for him.
Conspiracy Theory: Bloomberg allies fund him.


L.E.S. Cred: After living in the West Village, he moved back into the district last September. His wife’s pregnant and they found a bigger apartment.
Political Coming Of Age: He worked for Geraldine Ferraro’s Senate campaign in 1998; worked at Skadden, Arps; graduated from Fordham; and has worked for five corporate firms in as many years, including Wilson Elser, which reps several clients with ties to Silver and the Assembly. Says his purpose for running is to reform Albany.
Also: Plans to compete in the bike marathon two days before the primary.
When He Decided To Run: “Sometime last year,” he says.
Strategy: Thinks the voters want a more open and transparent government and will vote for him to overturn the too-comfortable Albany status quo.
Conspiracy Theory: The timing of his move into the district is suspicious to Newell.


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