Brooklyn Boro

Nadler held off primary challengers, absentee ballots show

July 2, 2020 Marina Villeneuve Associated Press and Raanan Geberer Brooklyn Daily Eagle

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, who represents a district that includes parts of both Manhattan and Brooklyn, has prevailed in the state’s Democratic primary, a recent analysis of absentee ballots returned so far has concluded.

The analysis, by the Associated Press, has determined that both Nadler and fellow Brooklyn Rep. Yvette Clarke have leads that are too large for their opponents to overcome.

The Brooklyn portion of Nadler’s district zigzags from Brooklyn Heights to Bath Beach. He had faced two challengers in the June 23 election who critiqued him for not doing enough for his district.

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But support for insurgent challengers fizzled after Nadler helped lead the Democratic case for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, who is deeply unpopular in the district.

Nadler’s support included an endorsement from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which is somewhat unusual because Ocasio-Cortez has usually endorsed insurgents rather than veteran legislators.

Nadler’s primary opponents were Lindsey Boylan, a former adviser to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Jonathan Herzog, a former member of Andrew Yang’s presidential campaign staff.

While he has been most prominent for his fierce opposition to President Trump, Nadler has been active in issues involving the Brooklyn part of his district.

For example, he has been a longtime supporter of Brooklyn Heights residents who have called for the curtailment of noisy tourist helicopters over their neighborhood.


At a rally in 2015, he said, “I have long called for an end to the incessant nuisance posed by the high volume of tourist helicopter traffic over our homes, parks, schools and workplaces. We should not be protecting a single tourist experience at the expense of the quality of life and safety of New York residents along the tourist helicopter flight paths.”

Nadler has also been steadfast in his advocacy for a freight railroad tunnel from Brooklyn to either Staten Island or New Jersey, even though the cause has seemed hopeless at times. In 2005, he procured a $100 million federal grant to study such a tunnel, although political and bureaucratic snafus later stalled the project.

For years, he, along with other Brooklyn legislators, pushed for a two-way toll on the Verrazzano Bridge, an effort that was finally realized in 2019.

“Restoring split-tolling will greatly improve traffic and congestion in Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, while also capturing new vital funding for the MTA from out-of-state trucks [that often used the one-way system to avoid paying tolls],” Nadler said last year.

Finally, although his district stops short of Coney Island, Nadler has been involved in efforts to strengthen the shoreline there since the 1990s. He provided millions in federal dollars for these efforts between FY 2003 and 2010. “The beach erosion project is truly vital to protect Coney Island’s robust and famous beaches,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke’s winning effort has been covered extensively in the Brooklyn Eagle. She defeated four challengers in New York’s 9th Congressional District, including Adem Bunkeddeko, who she also beat in a primary in 2018.

Clarke, 55, has been in Congress since 2007 and is the only Black woman in New York’s congressional delegation. Her district covers parts of Brooklyn including Crown Heights, Flatbush and Sheepshead Bay.

Krysten Copeland, Clarke’s campaign communication director, said her supporters and campaign workers were overwhelmed by the support at the polls.

“We’re really grateful and proud of the race we ran,” she said.

In-person voting in the party primaries wrapped up on June 23, but because of the coronavirus the state allowed all voters to cast their ballots by mail. Some counties are still tallying votes.


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