El-Yateem’s socialist endorsement rankles Capano
A candidate for Bay Ridge’s City Council seat who blasted a fellow candidate for accepting the endorsement of the Democratic Socialists of America was on the receiving end of criticism himself from the leader of the left-leaning political organization.
Days after Republican Bob Capano called on Democratic candidates to repudiate the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) for endorsing Democrat Rev. Khader El-Yateem, Zelig Stern, chairman of DSA’s New York chapter, had sharp words for Capano.
“These comments, in a district that democratic socialist Bernie Sanders won in 2016, show just how out of touch [Donald] Trump’s Republicans are with the residents of South Brooklyn. Capano should turn off Fox News and step into the real world. Anyone who thinks that the status quo is working is delusional. While Republicans gut health care and victimize the weakest in our society, Democratic Socialists are continuing the political revolution to put power in the hands of working people,” Stern said in a strongly worded statement.
Stern was referring to the fact that Sanders earned more votes than Hilary Clinton in Bay Ridge in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary. Sanders outpaced Clinton in Bay Ridge, 53.7 percent to 46.3 percent, according to The New York Times.
Stern added that DSA’s 2,000 members in New York “are fired up and ready to win the ground war for El-Yateem,” and that “Republicans like Capano have every reason to be worried.”
Hoping to build on the excitement surrounding the Sanders campaign in 2016, DSA is planning to mobilize its 2,000 members to win a ground war to get El-Yateem elected, leaders said. Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont, generated a great deal of excitement across the country with his presidential campaign last year before losing the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton.
More than 100 volunteers turned out for a DSA rally for E-Yateem at the An Noor Center in Bay Ridge on June 10.
El-Yateem, a DSA member, has raised more than $90,000, according to the New York City Campaign Finance Board.
If elected, El-Yateem would be the first Arab-American to ever serve on the New York City Council.
Bob Capano recently called upon the Democratic candidates running for the Council seat to denounce DSA’s endorsement of El-Yateem. Capano also charged that the endorsement is “a clear signal that El-Yateem’s political views are out of touch with Brooklyn and the nation.”
El-Yateem said he is grateful for DSA’s endorsement. “I am proud to be endorsed by DSA, and I am proud to be a member. Together, we will fight to end inequality, and work to ensure that everyone in this city is treated with dignity and respect,” he said in a statement.
El-Yateem is one of four Democrats running for the council seat in the 43rd District, a seat that covers Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights and includes parts of Bensonhurst and Bath Beach. Justin Brannan, Kevin Peter Carroll and Nancy Tong are also running in the Democratic primary on Sept. 12.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face the winner of the Republican primary in the Nov. 7 general election.
In addition to Capano, the Republican candidates are Liam McCabe and John Quaglione. The Republican primary also takes place on Sept. 12.
Democratic Councilmember Vincent Gentile, who has represented the 43rd Council District since 2003, cannot run for re-election due to New York City’s term limits law. Gentile is running in the Democratic primary for Brooklyn district attorney.
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