Fringe-party candidates for Bronx borough president say they are real challengers

[Fringe? I think not! At least I was interviewed.]

Socialist Workers Party candidate Roger Calero and Green Party nominee Carl Lundgren will face incumbent Ruben Diaz Jr.

ByDenis Slattery / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Saturday, October 5, 2013, 4:20 PM

They have little money, less name recognition and no real chance, but these candidates refuse to call their bid to unseat the incumbent Bronx borough president a fool’s errand.

Socialist Workers Party candidate Roger Calero and Green Party nominee Carl Lundgren are challenging Ruben Diaz Jr. in the November general election.

Calero is a two-time U.S. presidential hopeful that mustered a little more than 7,000 votes nationwide in 2008.

Even though he does not have a website and has raised less than $10,000 in contributions, Calero says his campaign has been a success, even if his ideas are a little bigger than the borough.

“Our struggle did not start with the campaign and it doesn’t end with the campaign,” Calero said of his bid, admitting that getting working people motivated to start a movement was the party’s ultimate goal. “It is not just about the Bronx. The problems that people in the Bronx face are the same that people all over the world face.”

Roger Calero, the Socialist Workers Party candidate for Bronx Borough President. Calero said his main concerns are unemployment, minimum wage, and stopping deportation of immigrants.

 The 44-year-old, who wouldn’t say how he thinks he’ll fare against Diaz, is adamant that running for local office is not a step down after his national bid.

The hopeful Socialist was the party’s nominee for U.S. President in both 2004 and 2008. But the candidate would have been ineligible to take office even if he won because he is not a natural born citizen.

The Nicaraguan native has been a permanent resident of the U.S. since 1990 but faced deportation in 2002 stemming from a felony drug offense.

In the 2008 general election Calero received 7,209 votes in the five states where he was on the ballot. But in his hometown of the Bronx, he received only 124 votes.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“The expectations are the same,” Calero said, comparing his current campaign to his earlier attempts at office. “That goal to build a movement is the same.”

Green Party candidate Carl Lundgren offered a more local perspective.

“When you look at what a borough president can actually do, there is no legislative power,” Lundgren said. “But he’s not looking out for the interests of the people. We want more community involvement.”

The architectural draftsman cited Diaz’s support of the city deal to move FreshDirect to the South Bronx and the Kingsbridge Armory ice center plan as examples of what he called the sitting borough president’s “corporate ties.”

The 60-year-old said he was realistic about his chances against Diaz, but believes interest in the Green Party is growing.

“We still have to fight and say that we should have a voice that represents the people, not the business interests,” Lundgren said.

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2 responses to “Fringe-party candidates for Bronx borough president say they are real challengers

  1. Here’s an update on this story: Roger Calero, SWP candidate, is not on the ballot after all. I’m left holding the fringes by myself.

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