Candidates jockey for position in Bay Ridge council race
The Bay Ridge City Council race, which is shaping up to be one of the most closely watched contests in New York this fall, featured a great deal of action and political maneuvering this week, as three candidates announced plans to officially kick off their campaigns and another candidate boasted about his fundraising prowess.
The Rev. Khader El-Yateem, pastor of Salam Arabic Lutheran Church in Bay Ridge, who had been rumored to be running for the council seat, announced that he will hold a campaign kickoff event on Feb. 26 at Le Sajj Restaurant at 8221 Fifth Ave. The event will serve as El-Yateem’s official entry into the race.
Feb. 26 is also the day candidate Bob Capano is holding a campaign fundraiser. Capano’s reception will take place at The Bean Post, a pub at 7525 Fifth Ave. Capano’s special guests will be radio talk show host Curtis Sliwa, former mayoral candidate and supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis and former Brooklyn Republican Party Chairman Craig Eaton.
Republican John Quaglione announced that his official campaign kickoff is on March 6 at Positano Restaurant at 10018 Fourth Ave. Another Republican, Liam McCabe, who officially started his campaign earlier this month, said he will hold a fundraiser on March 6 at Chef Andrea’s Restaurant at 7312 13th Ave.
Meanwhile, Democrat Justin Brannan said he was pleased that figures released last week by the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) show him with a commanding lead among council candidates in small-dollar campaign contributions. To date, Brannan has received contributions from 266 individuals who gave him $175 or less, adding another $21,460 to his campaign coffers.
“This groundswell of support from everyday New Yorkers further proves that the people, not special interests and billionaires, and have the real power in the race for City Council,” Brannan said. “I’m honored that so many friends and neighbors in our community have joined together to stand with me.”
The CFB figures show that Brannan leads all city council candidates participating in the city’s matching funds program.
Brannan’s campaign said he is eligible for $128,000 in public campaign financing after the CFB applies its $6-to-$1 match to the contributions.
El-Yateem, Capano, Quaglione, McCabe and Brannan are all running for the council seat in the
43rd Council District. The district covers Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights and includes parts of Bensonhurst and Bath Beach.
Democratic Councilmember Vincent Gentile, who has represented the 43rd District since 2003, is ineligible to run for another term due to the city’s term limits law.
In addition to Brannan, the Democrats who have announced their candidacies in the race are Kevin Peter Carroll, the Democratic district leader of the 64th Assembly District (A.D.) and Nancy Tong, Democratic district leader of the 47th A.D.
But all eyes are on Democratic Assemblymember Peter Abbate.
Abbate (D-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) has not publicly announced that he is running for the council seat. He did appear at a council candidates’ forum sponsored by the Shorefront Democratic Club last week, a move that increased the speculation swirling around him.
The Democratic and Republican primaries will take place on Sept. 12. The general election is set for Nov. 7.