Bay Ridge

Ocasio-Cortez win fuels Democratic hopes in Bay Ridge

Gounardes, Barkan vie to challenge Golden in November

June 28, 2018 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset win over U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley in Tuesday's primary is making everyone in politics sit up and take notice. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
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Upstart Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning victory over longtime U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley in the Democratic Primary in a Queens congressional district Tuesday night is fueling hope among young Democrats taking on the political establishment in Brooklyn.

Two Democrats, Andrew Gounardes and Ross Barkan, who will face each other in a primary on Sept. 13 for the right to run against Republican-Conservative State Sen. Marty Golden in November, both pointed to Ocasio-Cortez’s surprise win as a harbinger of things to come.

Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and a Bernie Sanders campaign volunteer in 2016, earned 57.5 percent of the vote to Crowley’s 42.5 percent.

Gounardes called it “an earthquake” and wrote in a fundraising email that “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proved what we have been seeing and hearing from voters: political machines are in trouble and communities are hungry for new leaders.” 

Gounardes, chief counsel to Borough President Eric Adams, ran against Golden in 2012 and lost, although he did beat the incumbent in the Bay Ridge portion of the State Senate district. Golden’s district runs from Bay Ridge to Marine Park. Golden first won his State Senate seat in 2002.

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Barkan, a political journalist making his first run for public office, had a warning for entrenched political machines. “Your day is done. And our day is here. The movement is real. We believe, more than anything now, we can win,” he wrote in an email to supporters.

Not so fast, said a Bay Ridge political observer.

“I don’t think Marty’s in any trouble. He has big name recognition. And the fact that Dan Donovan won is a big boost for him,” the source said.

U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan easily beat back a challenge from former Congressmember Michael Grimm Tuesday night, 63.9 percent to 36.1 percent.

Donovan will face Max Rose, a U.S. Army veteran who beat back five other candidates to capture the Democratic nomination for the House seat covering Staten Island and parts of Southwest Brooklyn. Rose has never run for public office before.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which is backing Rose, didn’t waste any time. On Wednesday morning, the organization put out a press release blasting Donovan and touting Rose’s chances in November.

“The general election pits decorated combat veteran Max Rose against spineless politician Dan Donovan, who supports an agenda that hurts Staten Island and Brooklyn families. An Army officer who earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star in Afghanistan, Max’s candidacy contrasts sharply with Donovan, whose support for a destructive Washington agenda has destroyed his reputation, and whose actions during the Republican primary exposed him as the self-serving and calculating politician that he is,” the DCCC statement reads.

Jessica Proud, Donovan’s campaign spokesperson, fired back.

Washington Democrats are delusional,” she said. “Dan’s record of service and results has been validated by everyone one of his resounding victories. The last thing the people of Staten Island and South Brooklyn want is a carpetbagger controlled and funded by Nancy Pelosi and Bernie Sanders.”

But Rose’s campaign denied ties to Pelosi. “Max has repeatedly stated that he does not and will not be supporting Nancy Pelosi. I know it may be shocking to Dan Donovan that someone has guts to take a stand against D.C., but that doesn’t excuse lying to Staten Island and Brooklyn voters,” said Jennifer Blatus, a spokesperson for Max Rose for Congress.

In another surprising result, U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke — whose district includes a broad swathe of central Brooklyn — won her primary, but by a narrowest of margins. Adem Bunkeddeko, a community organizer, nearly toppled her.

In the end, Clarke prevailed, earning 51.9 percent to her challenger’s 48.1 percent and avoiding Crowley’s fate.


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