Volume 73, Number 26 | Oct 29 -Nov 04, 2003

Abate quells ‘beep’ rumors, but she would consider D.A.

By Lincoln Anderson

Former state Senator Catherine Abate says that over the last four months “about 200 people have asked” if she’s running for Manhattan Borough President.

“Just last weekend, three or four people asked,” she said in a telephone interview last Friday.

But she’s not running — at least not for borough president. Abate left the state Senate to run for state attorney general in 1998, finishing second to Eliot Spitzer in the Democratic primary. Since then, Abate has been president and C.E.O. of Community Healthcare Network, an organization that provides healthcare and social services in lower-income areas and operates the state’s largest H.I.V. case-management program.

“I’m flattered that people are thinking about me in that position [borough president], but I like what I’m doing,” Abate said. “What’s strange is I never told anyone I was interested in the job. In the last six months not a week goes by without someone asking me if I’m running. I ask them, ‘Where did you hear this?’ They say it’s just common knowledge.

“There are a lot of very good people running for this position,” Abate said. “I’m not throwing my hat into that ring.”

Carlos Manzano is the only candidate to officially declare his campaign for borough president. City Councilmember Margarita Lopez has also said she’s very interested in the job. Other names being mentioned to run in the Democratic primary include state Senator Tom Duane, Assemblymember Scott Stringer and Councilmembers Phil Reed, Bill Perkins and Eva Moskowitz — though Moskowitz is also said to be eyeing a run for a citywide position, such as comptroller or public advocate. The election is in 2005, when C. Virginia Fields must step down because of term limits.

One position Abate is interested in, however, is Manhattan district attorney.

“If Robert Morganthau ever decided not to run again, that is something I would look at,” she said. “I’m not considering running against him. Only if there’s a vacancy. I think he’s saying he’s running — so we could be talking 2009.”

A Village resident, Abate has a criminal justice background well suited for being D.A. She was a Legal Aid criminal lawyer for 13 years, chairperson of the state Crime Victims Board and commissioner of both the city’s probation and correction departments before becoming a state senator.


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