Bay Ridge

Brannan, Quaglione win Bay Ridge council primaries

Cumbo, Menchaca, Reynoso also victorious in their races

September 13, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Democratic City Council candidate Justin Brannan was victorious on primary night. Photo by Teri Brennan
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Justin Brannan and John Quaglione, who both spent many years working as aides to elected officials in Bay Ridge, now have a chance to become lawmakers themselves after posting stunning victories in Tuesday’s Democratic and Republican primaries in Brooklyn’s 43rd Council District (C.D.), setting up a major showdown against each other in November.

Democrat Brannan, a first time candidate and former chief of staff to outgoing Councilmember Vincent Gentile, topped his closest rival in the Democratic Primary, the Rev. Khader El-Yateem, earning 3,561 votes to El-Yateem’s 2,879 votes, according to election results posted on

The Southwest Brooklyn primary was one of the most closely watched races in the city due partly to the fact that nine candidates were running an open seat with no incumbent in the contest. Gentile, a Democrat who has represented the 43rd Council District for 14 years, is term limited and cannot run for re-election. Gentile endorsed Brannan. The victorious Brannan garnered 38.8 percent of the total number of votes cast. El-Yateem, also making his first try at public office, earned 31.3 percent.

There were three other candidates in the Democratic Primary. Nancy Tong, Democratic district leader of the 47th Assembly District (A.D.), received 1,459 votes (15.9 percent), while Vincent Chirico, a Dyker Heights attorney, had 707 votes (7.7 percent) and Kevin Peter Carroll, Democratic district leader of the 64th A.D., had 583 votes (6.3 percent).

Quaglione, deputy chief of staff to state Sen. Marty Golden, was the big winner in the Republican Primary for the council seat, beating three candidates: Liam McCabe, former community aide to U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan; Bob Capano, an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; and Lucretia Regina-Potter, Republican district leader of the 46th Assembly District. Quaglione, who ran for the same council seat four years ago and lost to Gentile, earned 1,789 votes Tuesday and garnered 49.0 percent of the vote total. McCabe came in second with 1,153 votes for 31.6 percent. Capano received 543 votes for 14.9 percent of the vote total, Regina-Potter trailed with 163 votes and 4.5 percent.

The council district covers Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights and includes parts of Bensonhurst and Bath Beach. Brannan is the founder of the Bay Ridge Democrats, a grass-roots political club that was one of the first organizations in the city to endorse Bill de Blasio for mayor in 2013.

“It means so much to have the opportunity to represent the neighborhoods I grew up in and I will do my best to help our community thrive. It was a competitive, tough campaign and it is inspiring to have first-time candidates trying to bring about positive change in our neighborhoods. Activism doesn’t end on Election Day and we have a lot of work to be done,” Brannan said in a statement issued by his campaign Wednesday morning.

Quaglione, who celebrated his victory at the Bay Ridge Manor catering hall, took aim at Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“I am humbled by the support I received in the Republican Primary and the results have given me much enthusiasm and excitement as we look towards victory in November! I believe all the Republican candidates, Liam McCabe, Bob Capano and Lucretia Regina Potter, ran respectful races and I thank them for being part of the discussion about the future. United, we will go forward to November against the policies of Bill DeBlasio coming out of City Hall,” he told the Brooklyn Eagle in an email.

Going into Tuesday’s primary, Brannan boasted a slew of endorsements from elected officials, including Public Advocate Letitia James, U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler and Assemblymember Peter Abbate, as well as support from unions like the United Federation of Teachers armed with strong get-out-the-vote operations.

El-Yateem’s candidacy generated a great deal of grassroots excitement, particularly in Bay Ridge Arab-American community. El-Yateem, a first time candidate, is a Palestinian-American. He was endorsed by the New Kings Democrats, the New York State Immigrant Action Fund and the New York City Democratic Socialists of America, the organization that backed Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

Carroll suffered a personal tragedy in the closing days of the campaign when his mother, Dorothy Carroll, died at the age of 71 from complications following a medical procedure.

“This wasn’t the Primary Election Day I was expecting. With the passing of my mom, Dorothy Carroll, last week, I have been reflecting on so much of what has happened during this campaign. I am happy with the campaign I have run,” Carroll wrote in an email he sent to supporters on Tuesday morning.

Quaglione had a great deal of firepower on his side. Golden endorsed his deputy chief of staff and frequently campaigned with him. Golden and Quaglione go back a long way. Quaglione first joined Golden’s staff in 1998, when Golden was a council member, and continued working for him when Golden became a state senator. Quaglione also won the backing of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and other police unions.

Here are other primary results from around Brooklyn: Councilmember Antonio Reynoso easily won the Democratic Primary in the 34th C.D. in Bushwick, defeating challenger Tommy Torres 6,452 votes to 3,527. Reynoso had 64.7 percent while Torres had 35.3 percent.

Incumbent Laurie Cumbo won the Democratic Primary in the 35th Council District (Fort Greene-Clinton Hill-Crown Heights), defeating rival Ede Fox 10,116 votes to 7,304 votes. Cumbo came away with 58.1 percent of the vote, while Fox earned 41.9 percent.

Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park-Red Hook) easily won the Democratic Primary in the 38th Council District, defeating Sunset Park Assemblymember Felix Ortiz, community activist Chris Miao, former council member Sara Gonzalez, who was trying for a political comeback after Menchaca beat her in 2013, and lawyer Delvis Valdes. Menchaca walked away with the lion’s share of the votes, 4,102 to Ortiz’s 2,777. Menchaca had 48.6 percent of the vote. Ortiz had 32.9 percent. Miao earned 763 votes (9.0 percent), Gonzalez came in third with 507 votes (6.0 percent) and Valdes came in last with 285 votes (3.4 percent.

In District 40 (Kensington), incumbent Mathieu Eugene won, earning 5,414 votes and 41.1 percent of the vote total. Brian-Christopher Cunningham came in second in the four-way primary, earning 3,991 votes (30.3 percent). Pia Raymond had 2,956 votes (22.4 percent) and Jennifer Berkley came in last with 822 votes (6.2 percent).

Other incumbents who posted big victories on primary night were Inez Barron in the 42nd C.D. (East New York), who earned 7,253 votes; Jumaane Williams in the 45th C.D. (Flatbush), who posted 8,588 votes; and Chaim Deutsch in the 48th C.D. (Sheepshead Bay-Manhattan Beach), who garnered 3,563 votes. The 41st C.D. (Oceanhill-Brownsville) saw an open race due to Councilmember Darlene Mealy being term limited. Alicka Ampry-Samuel came out on top of a crowded field of candidates in the Democratic Primary with 3,320 votes.


Article was updated to include statement from Quaglione.

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