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Brooklyn Political Roundup, November 8: Incumbents cruise, a look inside Brannan’s win

In Public Service, From The Political Staff Of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle

November 8, 2017 By Paula Katinas & John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams won an overwhelming victory in his quest for a second term. He earned 83 percent of the vote. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office
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Incumbents Cruise to Easy Wins on Election Night

Election Day 2017 was a good one for Democratic incumbents in Brooklyn, but a rough one for their challengers as experience won out at the polls.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, running for his second term in office, easily defeated Republican challenger Vito Bruno and Reform Party candidate Ben Kissel by a wide margin.

Adams, a former state senator and retired police captain, earned 83 percent of the total number of votes cast in Tuesday’s election. Bruno came in second with 15.2 percent. Kissel had 1.8 percent.

Incumbents won all of the City Council races in the borough, although it was a contest for an open seat that drew a great deal of attention.

Democrat Kalman Yeger captured the seat in the 44th Council District (Borough Park-Midwood-parts of Bensonhurst) currently held by David Greenfield. Greenfield announced earlier this year that he would not run for re-election.

Yeger, a member of Community Board 14, defeated Yoni Hikind, the son of Assemblymember Dov Hikind, 67.2 percent to 28.9 percent. The younger Hikind was running on the Our Neighborhood Party line. A third candidate in the race, School Choice Party candidate Harold Tischler, came in last with 4 percent.

The race was marred by political infighting. The Hikinds had raised objections to the way Yeger was handpicked by Greenfield to run for the Council seat.

In the 33rd Council District, incumbent Stephen Levin beat challenger Victoria Cambranes, who ran on the Progress for All ticket. The district takes in Greenpoint and parts of Williamsburg, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill and Downtown Brooklyn. Levin garnered 88.7 percent of the vote, while Cambranes trailed with 11.3 percent.

Councilmember Laurie Cumbo, who recently gave birth to her first child and was absent from the campaign trail for much of the latter stages of the race, was victorious in the 35th Council District (Fort Greene-Clinton Hill). She won a second term in office by beating Republican Christine Parker and Green Party candidate Jabari Brisport. Cumbo came out with 67.6 percent, Brisport with 28.8 percent and Parker with 3.7 percent.

Councilmember Rafael Espinal, who represents the 37th Council District (Bushwick-East New York), won a landslide victory in his race against Green Party candidate Sarah Jane Smith, 90 percent to 10 percent.

Another incumbent, Carlos Menchaca, who represents the 38th District, also won easily. Menchaca, who earned 82.7 percent, defeated Conservative Allan Romaguera (7 percent), Reform Party candidate Delvis Valdes (3.8 percent) and Green Party candidate Carmen Hulbert (6.5 percent). The district covers Sunset Park and Red Hook.

Mathieu Eugene, the only medical doctor currently serving on the City Council, will continue to serve after winning re-election in the 40th Council District. (Prospect Lefferts Gardens-Kensington). He defeated Reform Party candidate Brian Cunningham and Conservative Party candidate Brian Kelly. Eugene had 60.2 percent of the vote. Cunningham had 36.4 percent and Kelly had 3.3 percent.

Councilmember Inez Barron easily won another term in office in the 42nd District (East New York-New Lots) by defeating Conservative Ernest Johnson and Reform Party candidate Mawuli Hormeku. Barron earned an impressive 92.7 percent of the vote. Johnson had 4.5 percent and Hormeku came in third with 2.8 percent.

Jumaane Williams, who represents the 45th Council District (Flatbush) won a second term by defeating Anthony Beckford, who was running on the True Freedom Party banner. Williams was one of the night’s biggest winners with 97.1 percent of the vote. Beckford had 2.9 percent.

Another incumbent, Alan Maisel, trounced Conservative Jeffrey Ferretti in the 46th District, 84.4 percent to 15.6 percent. The district includes Marine Park and Canarsie.

Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst), who is the co-leader of the Council’s Brooklyn delegation, won a big victory on Election Night, easily defeating Republican Raimondo Denaro, 72.6 percent to 27.4 percent.

Incumbent Democrat Chaim Deutsch won a second term in the 48th Council District by defeating Republican Steve Saperstein, 61.6 percent to 38.4 percent. The district includes Manhattan Beach and Brighton Beach.

There was an open seat in the 41st Council District, where Councilmember Darlene Mealy did not seek re-election due to the city’s term limits law. Democrat Alicka Ampy-Samuel was the winner, beating back two other candidates, Republican Berneada Jackson and Christopher Carew. The district includes Ocean Hill-Brownsville and parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Ampy-Samuel earned 95.7 percent of the vote. Jackson had 3.1 percent and Carew had 1.2 percent.

Brooklyn Councilmembers Robert Cornegy Jr., Brad Lander and Antonio Reynoso all ran unopposed and won.

* * *

Brannan Maps Out Agenda After Winning Close Race

Bay Ridge is Getting a New City Councilmember

Justin Brannan, a Bay Ridge political power player who has worked diligently behind the scenes to help numerous candidates win election to local and citywide offices, is now front and center as councilmember-elect in Brooklyn’s 43rd Council District after his victory in Tuesday’s election.

But it was a close race.

Brannan, a Democrat, earned 12,516 votes in the Nov. 7 contest. His Republican rival John Quaglione garnered 11,621 votes.

Bob Capano, who lost to Quaglione in the Republican Party primary in September but remained on the ballot as the Reform Party candidate, trailed far behind with 324 votes. A fourth candidate, Angel Medina, running on the Women’s Equality Party line, had 273 votes.

Brannan garnered 50.6 percent of all of the total number of votes cast. Quaglione, deputy chief of staff to Republican state Sen. Marty Golden, earned 47 percent. Capano and Medina had 1.3 percent and 1.1 percent of the vote, respectively.

The 43rd Council District covers Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights and includes parts of Bath Beach and Bensonhurst.

At his victory party at Cebu Restaurant on Third Avenue, Brannan talked about his vision of governing.

“This campaign was about making local government work for everyone, making sure everyone has a seat at the table, and that all voices are heard. We stayed focused on the issues that matter most; strengthening our schools, supporting our seniors, improving our subways and buses and protecting our quality of life. I ran on a vision for this district that is deeply inclusive, responsive, accessible, open and honest,” he told his supporters.

Brannan, who has never held public office before, made a pledge to the residents of the council district. “I will fight like hell for everyone who calls this neighborhood home and I will make it my business to listen especially closely to new voices as we chart the path forward,” he said.

When he takes office in January, Brannan said he will have extended office hours at his district office. “At least a couple of days a week, I plan to have the office stay open until 9 p.m. A 9-to-5 day doesn’t work anymore for people. If they have a job, they can’t come to see you after work if your office is closed,” he told the Brooklyn Eagle in a recent interview.

He also intends to allow the council district take part in participatory budgeting, something that current Councilmember Vincent Gentile never did during his tenure. Participatory budgeting lets citizens in a council district come up with ideas for capital budget projects and then vote on which projects to fund. “I want to demystify city government,” he said. 

Brannan, 38, will succeed Gentile, his friend and former boss, in representing the council district.

Brannan worked as Gentile’s chief of staff until a few months ago, when he resigned from his job to devote himself full-time to his campaign to win the City Council seat.

Gentile, who has served on the City Council since 2003, was prevented from running for re-election because of New York City’s term limits law.

Brannan is the founder of the Bay Ridge Democrats, an influential political club that enjoys a track record of success in big races. Four years ago, the Bay Ridge Democrats endorsed Bill de Blasio for mayor, long before anyone in politics thought de Blasio had a realistic shot at winning City Hall in 2013.

Prior to his stint in Gentile’s office, Brannan served as a top aide to Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina.

Brannan is also a small business owner. He is co-owner, along with his wife Leigh Holliday Brannan and his mother, Mary Brannan, of the Art Room, at art school-gallery for children on Third Avenue.

Brannan is also the founder of Bay Ridge Cares, a nonprofit group that assists families with cancer and people who are coping with natural disasters.

“I have to thank my wife Leigh for her infinite support and Vinnie Gentile, for taking a chance and giving me my first job in politics,” Brannan said in his victory speech. “I also must thank the hundreds of talented volunteers who dedicated their time. My name may have been on the ballot, but there is simply no way we would have won without all the volunteers who poured their hearts into this campaign.” 

The councilmember-elect used a combination of political smarts and grassroots expertise to win on Tuesday, according to political observers, who noted that his years of knocking on doors, circulating nominating petitions and making phone calls to voters on behalf of other candidates over the years gave him an edge in the election.

Brannan was also able to successfully seize on local issues that voters cared about, like their complaints about poor service on the R subway line. Brannan made improving transit services a centerpiece of his campaign.

He also benefitted from a slew of endorsements from major players in New York politics, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, Public Advocate Letitia James and Comptroller Scott Stringer. Local political titans, like Assemblymember Peter Abbate, Councilmember Mark Treyger and Gentile also supported his candidacy.

* * *

Supporters Gather in Bay Ridge to Watch Election Results

The crowd gathered at the Bay Ridge Manor was anxiously optimistic that City Council candidate John Quaglione would become one of the few Republican victors in the citywide election. Initially, Quaglione was trailing his opponent by a very slim margin and the hope was that he would make up the difference and somehow persevere.

State Sen. Marty Golden, who supported Quaglione, stood in the back of the room and watched attentively as the numbers flashed across the TV screen. Quaglione, who served beside Golden for nearly 20 years, continued to trail his opponent by hundreds of votes.

Not too many blocks away, Cebu Bar & Bistro was packed with family, friends and supporters of Democratic candidate Justin Brannan.  The loud crowd shouted each time the tally appeared on the screen. At around 10:30 p.m., they burst into cheers and wild applause as Brannan made his way into the restaurant.

His wife Leigh Holliday Brannan was smiling from ear to ear and hugging everyone around her, and no one was more proud of the candidate than his mother Mary Brannan, who shed tears of joy in anticipation of her son’s victory.

Also there to offer their support were City Councilmember Vincent Gentile, whom Brannan worked with for more 13 years and will now replace in the City Council. The Rev. Khader El-Yateem, Brannan’s former Democratic primary challenger, also supported him. El Yateem lost to Brannan in the primary by only 7 percent.  

El-Yateem praised Brannan for his inclusiveness and said he was the right man for the job and that he was looking forward to working with him in the community.

The District 43 (Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) City Council race was one of the most watched in the city because it held one of the few opportunities for a Republican to win the seat. While the race was close, Brannan was able to emerge victorious with 51 percent to Quaglione’s 47 percent finish, which was approximately a 900-vote difference.

 

 

 


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