Community organizer Edward Gibbs is one of many effervescent candidates running to replace Adam Clayton Powell IV for NY State Assembly. Unlike his fellow candidates though, Gibbs claims that if he is elected he can truly make history: "I would be the first ex-offender to serve in the New York State Assembly," said Gibbs. A convicted criminal in NY politics?! Where is the Victorian fainting couch?

Gibbs spent 5-1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the shooting of Otis Frasier at Manhattan's Johnson Houses, where Gibbs grew up. Gibbs says he shot Frasier after Frasier stabbed him in the leg. "I was defending myself in an altercation, and unfortunately, someone died," Gibbs said. Gibbs also pleaded guilty to a violation in a domestic violence case in the late 1970's, and was convicted of selling crack in the 1980's.

Gibbs has rehabilitated himself by working in his community, mentoring youths and raising money, and received a "certificate of good conduct" in 2002 that removes most job barriers. Despite his background, Gibbs didn't face much backlash when he first ran against Powell in 2006. "What defines a person is not how he falls, but how he gets up," said Gibbs.

Although Gibbs's manslaughter charge may elevate him above the typical corrupt NY politician, let's take a step back: Gibbs is running to replace Powell, who was convicted of a traffic violation in a sketchy DWI case. Powell is currently challenging Charles Rangel, who is facing trial for numerous House ethics violations, for a seat in Congress. Then there are the former and present members of the NY State Senate, which includes all-stars such as Hiram Monserrate, Pedro Espada Jr, Joe Bruno and Guy Velella, all of whom have either already been convicted of criminal charges or are just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Would one ex-offender winning an Assembly seat really shock you?