Bay Ridge

Brannan kicks off fundraising for City Council run

Democrat eyes Gentile’s Bay Ridge seat

December 19, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
After years of working behind the scenes to get politicians elected, Justin Brannan is raising funds for his own run for City Council. Photo by Teri Brennan
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A website set up by Justin Brannan crashed on Saturday, but you won’t hear him complaining about it. Brannan, who is exploring a run for a City Council seat in Bay Ridge, set up an online fundraising site only to see it crash due to a stampede of donors.

“Thank you to everyone who made a contribution yesterday and helped give this campaign a strong start,” Brannan wrote in an email to supporters on Sunday. “If you tried to donate yesterday and had technical difficulties, we apologize!”

Brannan went on to assure his supporters that the system was back up and running.

Brannan, the founder of the Bay Ridge Democrats Club and one of the first people in Brooklyn to endorse Bill de Blasio for mayor in 2013, has set his sights on the council seat in the 43rd District. The seat is currently held by Democrat Vincent Gentile, who is term-limited and will have to leave office at the end of 2017.

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Coincidentally, Brannan was Gentile’s communications director before taking a job as a special assistant to Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña at the New York City Department of Education.

The council election will take place in November of 2017. Assemblymember Peter Abbate (D-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst, Sunset Park) is rumored to be considering a run for the council seat. Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab-American Association of New York, is also said to be looking at the seat. On the Republican side, the names that have mentioned include Bob Capano, who served a director of community boards for former borough president Marty Markowitz; John Quaglione, deputy chief of staff to state Sen. Marty Golden; and Liam McCabe, an aide to U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan.

In his email, Brannan touted the city’s public campaign finance system.

“But here’s the deal: In order to run an effective campaign, I need to raise money. The good news is NYC helps level the playing field so regular people like me can run for office without relying on super PACs and billionaire donors,” he wrote, adding that he intends to take part in the campaign finance system.

Brannan also wrote about his reasons for running.

I grew up in the shadow of the Verrazano Bridge and have always called this community home. This is where my wife Leigh and I own a small business and where my mom Mary has been an educator for over 30 years. Helping others is my passion and with your support, I hope to continue doing that in an official capacity as your next councilmember,” he wrote.  

Brannan, his wife Leigh Holliday Brannan and his mother Mary Brannan are the owners of The Art Room, an art school and gallery on Third Avenue. Mary Brannan is a teacher at Holy Angels Catholic Academy.

Brannan is one of the founders of Bay Ridge Cares, a nonprofit organization that cooked and delivered more than 25,000 hot meals to Superstorm Sandy victims and emergency responders in the aftermath of the 2012 hurricane. The group has also sponsored coat drives and has raised money for cancer patients.


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