The Ben Franklin Club endorsement of Jeff Klein in the 34th state senate district over Oliver Koppel in Koppell's own club should have sent a message to Koppell. It got nasty at times as Koppell's strategy seemed to be to have his club not endorse for the 34th state senate rather than fight a battle he may not have been able to win. Long time members of the club spoke about honor and loyalty, but in the end it would be Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz that would be the last speaker and remind everyone of the night at the Paridise Theater in 2008. That night is better known as the battle for control of the Bronx Democratic County organization. Dinowitz said that as a candidate for County Committee Chair while he was being thrashed in the back of the theater Oliver Koppell was on stage supporting those who were trying to stay in power such as Jose Rivera, Larry Seabrook, and Maria Baez. Dinowitz said "Where was your loyalty then Oliver?" He continued talking about the next year in the mayors race not only did Oliver Koppell not support the Democratic candidate Bill Thompson, but Oliver Koppell supported the Republican candidate that he allowed to run for a third term by overturning the will of the people who voted two times for term limits. You could hear in his voice that Assemblyman Dinowitz's voice that he did not want to say these things, but on order to get the point across he had to. The photos below should tell the rest of the story.
Left - Senator Jeff Klein was greeting members of the Ben Franklin Club before the meeting started.
Right - You can see the packed house.
Left - Lorraine Coyle Koppell seated next to her husband Oliver Koppell goes over some last minute strategy. Senator Klein is seated two rows back of the Koppell's.Right - Candidate Oliver Koppell giving reasons why he should receive the Ben Franklin endorsement in the 34th senate district.
Left - Senator Klein speaks as to why the club should endorse him.
Right - Lorraine Coyle Koppell speaks in favor of her husband.
Left - Koppell is challenged by one Ben Franklin Club member as to his overturning the will of the people twice in changing the term limit law so that he and Republican Mayor Bloomberg could serve another 4 year term in office.
Right - Koppell's wife challenges Senator Klein as to him empowering Republicans to be in charge of the state senate.
Left - State Senator Gustavo Rivera from the 33rd state senate district in the Bronx asks the club to vote for Oliver Koppell over Senator Jeff Klein.
Right - Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz had the final words before the club voted. Dinowitz criticized Oliver Koppell for that night in 2008 at the Paradise Theater when Koppell chose to support Jose Rivera over Dinopwitz for Bronx Democratic County Committee Chair. Jose Rivera is supporting Jeff Klein this election.
Finally the votes are counted to see if the Ben Franklin Club will endorse Senator Jeff Klein, Oliver Koppell, or not endorse in the 34th state senate district.
The results of the vote by Ben Franklin Club members were -
96 - votes to endorse Senator Jeff Klein for re-election
38 - votes to endorse Oliver Koppell
11 - votes not to endorse
It was a clear decisive victory for Senator Jeff Klein.
On her way out Lorraine Coyle Koppell told me " It's a sad day for the Ben Franklin Club, It has lost it's reason for it's existence".
Senator Klein was very happy to win the endorsement of the Ben Franklin Club as he told me that he now has every Democratic club in the 34th senate district behind him for re-election.