Bay Ridge

Treyger-McCreight race highlights Democratic divisions

May 23, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Chris McCreight (right) is undaunted by Treyger’s entrance into the race, according to a source, but Councilmember Mark Treyger says he can bring the various neighborhoods of the 46th A.D. together. Photos courtesy of McCreight and Treyger’s office
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The 46th Assembly District (AD) takes in parts of Bay Ridge and Coney Island, with the Belt Parkway serving as a connecting line between the two separate parts of the district. In an intriguing development in an unpredictable political year, the race to elect a new Democratic Party district leader is highlighting divisions between the two ends of the diverse district.

The current district leader, Mark Davidovich, confirmed to various media outlets that he does not plan to run for re-election.

Even before Davidovich made his plans public, a candidate from Bay Ridge declared his intention to run for district leader.

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Chris McCreight, one of the founders of the Bay Ridge Democrats political club, announced that he is running. He made his big announcement at a meeting of the Bay Ridge Democrats on Feb. 11.

But in a surprise move, Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) jumped into the race earlier this month.

Treyger and McCreight will compete for the hearts of Democrats in the 46th AD in the Democratic Primary on Sept. 13.

The contest marks the first time there has been a primary for male district leader in the 46th AD since 2002.

The Treyger-McCright race sets up an intriguing contest pitting Democrats from either side of the AD against each other.

“It’s going to be fun to see who comes out on top, the Bay Ridge people or the Coney Island faction,” one political observer told the Brooklyn Eagle.

District leaders are also known as state committeepersons. They serve on the executive committee of a county political party for a two-year term. They are unpaid political workers at the grassroots level of politics who recruit candidates to run for public office, supervise volunteers and place poll workers at polling sites on primary and election days.

In Brooklyn, registered Democrats elect two Democratic State Committee persons, one male and one female, in each of the New York State ADs. There are 21 ADs in Brooklyn.

The female district leader in the 46th AD is Dilia Schack.

McCreight, a political strategist, has worked behind the scenes at many campaigns. In 2013, he managed Democrat Sal Albanese’s mayoral campaign. That same year, he served as campaign manager for Councilmember Vincent Gentile’s (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) successful re-election bid.

Treyger released a statement in which he sought to explain why he, a sitting office holder, is opting to add to his busy portfolio by running for an unpaid position as a district leader.

“As a party, we need to actively engage and empower grassroots leaders from all of the diverse communities of the 46th Assembly District, preparing them to be the next generation of Democratic leadership in southern Brooklyn. I am running for district leader because I believe that our party needs to partner with grassroots leaders on these unifying issues — to amplify their voices, and to enable communities to transform neighborhood strength into political power. Party-building must go hand-in-hand with community-building. The strength of our party depends on our ability to welcome new faces and new voices; increased diversity brings a vitality that is essential to our future success as a party,” Treyger stated.

Treyger also predicted that he could bring the disparate parts of the district together.

“We often hear about how different the neighborhoods of the 46th District are, but the truth of the matter is that people from Coney Island to Brighton Beach to Bay Ridge to Dyker Heights share many common concerns,” he stated, listing schools, safety economic opportunity and transportation as examples.

A Democratic Party source close to McCreight said the candidate is undaunted at the prospect of facing the popular councilmember.

“Chris is still going to run no matter who else jumps in the race,” the source told the Eagle.

The Democrat source also pointed out that Treyger does not actually live in the 46th AD. “So in order to run he would have to move into the district. He currently lives in the 47th Assembly District,” the source said.

Treyger has publicly stated that he would move into the 46th AD.

In his announcement back in February, McCreight outlined his rationale for running.

“I am running for district leader to build a stronger Democratic Party for everybody, no matter age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion or income. As district leader, I will not only bring an independent voice to the Kings County Executive Committee, but I’ll work tirelessly to help elect Democrats whose first priority is lifting up our neighborhoods,” McCreight said.


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