Ritter formally declared her intention to run for Espaillat's District 31 state Senate seat Tuesday morning, telling supporters via email that she is ready to continue Espaillat's work in Albany, as Espaillat makes a bid for a seat in Congress.
"I have seen the many ways that a good legislator can represent a district, and I am mindful of the work that must continue," Ritter wrote.
"As New Yorkers increasingly face a crumbling infrastructure, over-testing and overcrowding in our public schools, a natural environment under assault and a social environment that is waging a war on women, immigrants, the LGBT community and communities of color, we must hearken back to the civic engagement that inspired a generation to stop a war and save a planet."
Ritter is a member of Community Board 12, president of Beth Am, The People's Temple on West 185th Street and a mother of two.
She joins a crowded Democratic primary field for the state Senate seat, which already includes Inwood Democratic District Leader Manny De Los Santos, former Councilman Robert Jackson and East Harlem District Leader Marisol Alcantara. And former state Assemblyman Brian Murtagh was recently spotted collecting signatures for ex-state Assemblyman Guillermo Linares at the June's Drums Along the Hudson event.
The race to represent the district, which stretches from a sliver of Chelsea all the way up to Washington Heights and Inwood, is shadowed by Espaillat, who is expected to run for reelection should his bid to unseat Charles Rangel in Congress fail. Several Rangel supporters, including Jackson, have blasted Espaillat in the press for preparing to run in both elections.
De Los Santos, Alcantara and Ritter are Espaillat supporters, and it is unclear whether they would remain in the Senate race should Espaillat enter, but Jackson told the New York Daily News he intended to face Espaillat in the Senate primary.
The list of candidates for the seat has not yet been finalized, according to the city Board of Elections, which is still receiving petitions.