Bay Ridge

Eaton steps down as Brooklyn GOP chairman

Party’s new leader is Arnaldo Ferraro

October 1, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Kings County Republican Party Chairman Arnaldo Ferraro says his first priority will be to get Lucretia Regina-Potter elected to the State Assembly. Eagle photo by Paula Katinas
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There is a changing of the guard in Republican Party politics in Brooklyn.

In a surprise move, Craig Eaton, a Bay Ridge lawyer who had served as chairman of the Kings County Republican Party since 2007, stepped down and announced his support for his vice chairman, Dr. Arnaldo Ferraro, a retired educator from Bensonhurst, to take his place.

Eaton made his announcement at the party’s meeting on Sept. 30. The meeting was held to elect a party chairman. The news of Eaton’s departure was first reported by

Ferraro was elected chairman by an overwhelming margin, 327-46.

Eaton’s political enemy, state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn), had sought to nominate Ted Ghorra, a lawyer, for the chairmanship. Eaton and Golden were at odds during Eaton’s entire tenure as chairman.

The election was held using a proxy voting system.

Prior to the vote, a floor fight took place between Eaton’s forces and Golden’s troops over legitimacy of the proxies, sources told the Brooklyn Eagle.

Eaton’s forces won the day when the party’s Credentials Committee ruled that the majority of Golden’s proxies were not eligible to be included in the vote count. That doomed Ghorra’s chances, sources said.

Following the political maneuvering, Eaton, who up to that point had been believed to have been running for another term as chairman, announced that he was stepping down and was turning over his proxy votes to Ferraro.

“It came as a complete surprise to me,” Ferraro told the Eagle. “But I accepted the nomination because I felt I had the experience to lead the party.”

Ferraro, a longtime leader of the Fiorello LaGuardia Republican Club in Bensonhurst, is also a former elected official. He served as the state Assemblymember representing the 49th Assembly District for one term, from 1984 to 1986. He was defeated in 1986 by Democrat Peter Abbate.

While many political observers are interpreting Ferraro’s win as a major blow to Golden, the new GOP chairman begged to differ. “I believe in supporting our state senator. He is my state senator and I would never think of doing something against him,” Ferraro told the Eagle.

“I would like to point [out] that on the slate presented by Marty Golden, I was on the list as vice chairman. Marty wanted Ted Ghorra to be the chairman and me to be the vice chairman,” Ferraro said.

Ferraro called Ghorra “a nice, intelligent man,” but said he thought Ghorra “did not have enough experience to lead the party.”

Ferraro said his first priority as the party’s chairman will be to work to elect Republican Lucretia Regina-Potter to the state Assembly seat in the 46th Assembly District (Bay Ridge-Coney Island).

Regina-Potter and Democrat Pamela Harris are running in a special election in November to fill out the remainder of the term of former Assemblymemeber Alec Brook-Krasny, a Democrat who resigned in July to take a job in the private sector.

“Lucretia will make history. She will be the first Republican elected to the state Assembly in Brooklyn in 30 years,” Ferraro said.

Republican Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) represents parts of Bay Ridge but is from Staten Island.

Ferraro said his other top priority will be to unite the party. “We have to be united. One of the obstacles we have always faced is this infighting,” he said. “I will meet with anyone as long as they have ideas on how to bring us together.”

Meanwhile, Republicans were praising Eaton.

Bob Capano, a Republican who ran for a Bay Ridge City Council seat in 2009, said Eaton “has always been a dedicated fighter for Brooklyn both politically and in civic life.”

John Catsimatidis, a Republican who ran in the party’s mayoral primary in 2013, also praised Eaton. “Craig Eaton was one of the most effective Republican chairmen in all of New York state. Craig was one of my strongest supporters for mayor in 2013 and I saw first-hand his leadership for our city, our state and our party,” Catsimatidis said.


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