Ex-Hillary Aide to Challenge Harlem State Senator in Primary

Political strategist Basil Smikle intends to challenge state Sen. Bill Perkins in a Democratic primary for for the Harlem seat once held by Gov. David Paterson.

Smikle, 38, is a former aide to Hillary Clinton and Michael Bloomberg, among others. He is the founder of a political strategy and public relations firm based in New York.

Perkins, who has stoked some heated debate in Harlem because of his opposition to charter schools, was elected to the District 30 seat in November, 2006.

Smikle told the Daily News why he was inspired to run "I don't like the way that [Perkins] has pitted residents of upper Manhattan against one another. I want to try to tone down the rhetoric....I don't see him doing that. He seems to be stoking the fears and anxieties of the community, and that's something that I don't like to see happening in my neighborhood."

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