Coney Island

Southwest Brooklyn is hotbed of political action

Three primaries taking place in 46th Assembly District

September 9, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Assemblymember Pam Harris (left) is trying to fend off a challenge from Kate Cucco (right) in the primary. Eagle file photo of Harris by Paula Katinas. Cucco photo courtesy of Kate Cucco for New York.
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The area of Southwest Brooklyn that stretches from Bay Ridge to Coney Island stands at the center of the political universe in the borough as voters get set to go to the polls on Primary Day, Tuesday, Sept. 13.

The 46th Assembly District (AD) is a hotbed of political activity, with three Democratic Party primaries taking place on Tuesday.

Assemblymember Pam Harris, who won the seat in a special election last year, plans to run for her first full term in office but is facing a challenge from Bay Ridge civic activist Kate Cucco in the primary. The winner will run in the general election on Nov. 8.

And there are primaries for both the male and female Democratic district leader posts in the 46th AD. The district includes parts of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Coney Island, Seagate and Brighton Beach.

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Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) is hoping to add the title of Democratic district leader to his resume. His opponent is Chris McCreight, a political consultant who has worked behind the scenes in many campaigns and is making his first try at elected office.

Dilia Schack, the longtime female Democratic district leader, is facing a challenge from Coney Island civic activist Brigitte Purvis, a candidate aligned with Cucco and McCreight.

Cucco, who served as chief of staff to former Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny when he represented the 46th AD, is running for her boss’ old seat.

Brook-Krasny, a Democrat, resigned from his Assembly seat in July of 2015 to take a job in the private sector. Harris, a retired correction officer and founder of the nonprofit organization Coney Island Generation Gap, won his Assembly seat in a special election in November of 2015.

Cucco said her years serving as Brook-Krasny’s top lieutenant gave her a clear view of how things work in the state Capitol. “I’m running for state Assembly because I have an insider’s knowledge of government and an outsider’s perspective,” she said in a statement.

Harris said she hit the ground running once she was elected in 2015, sponsoring and co-sponsoring bills on several different issues, including illegal home conversions, ending employment discrimination and recording police interrogations of young people.

Harris has a strong ally in Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who came to the opening of her Bay Ridge district office in the spring.

The closely watched race between Treyger and McCreight showed no signs of slowing down as the campaign entered its final days.

McCreight, who said he relishes going door to door to meet voters, announced a milestone in his campaign: he had knocked on his 14,000th door.

Treyger has picked up the lion’s share of endorsements from elected officials and business and civic leaders in the race, however.

The powerful United Federation of Teachers (UFT) is among the unions supporting Treyger.

A district leader is an unpaid political party official who recruits candidates to run for public office, collects signatures on nominating petitions to get the candidates on the ballot and works to promote a party’s agenda at the grassroots level. In New York state, each of the major political parties has a male and a female district leader. The district leaders are also known as state committeepersons, since they serve on the party’s state committee.

“Councilmember Treyger’s proven record of public service and lifetime of dedication to the community will make him the best Democratic district leader for the 46th Assembly District,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said.


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