Democratic District Leader Ari Kagan officially conceded the Democratic primary race to replace term-limited Councilman Michael Nelson last week, thanking his supporters and vowing to stay active in the community.
Kagan held off on his concession for nearly two weeks, waiting for the official, post-recanvassing vote tallies to be released by the Board of Elections in the hopes that he might pick up the 300 votes needed to overtake the presumed winner, Chaim Deutsch. But as recanvassing wrapped up, Kagan came in just shy of 3,000 votes, not enough to upset the victory.
On Monday, he released the following statement to his supporters:
Once again, I wanted to thank you for the tremendous support you gave my campaign. Hundreds of people from throughout our community donated money and volunteered their time to help our efforts. I am truly grateful to each and everyone one of you who pitched in.
The Board of Elections has finally finished counting all the absentee and affidavit ballots cast in our race. In total, we received nearly three thousand votes,earning impressive support in every neighborhood in this incredibly diverse district. Unfortunately, we’re still a few hundred votes short of winning this race.
While I am deeply disappointed that I will not be the Democratic nominee for City Council in the 48th District, I am incredibly proud of the campaign we ran. Over the past six months, we ran a positive race, highlighting important issues facing southern Brooklyn – including Sandy recovery, upgrading our local infrastructure, improving schools and public transportation, helping small business owners, protecting the rights of co-op shareholders and preserving services for our seniors.
I couldn’t have done this without you. Words cannot adequately describe how proud I am to have your friendship and support. I look forward to continuing to be a strong voice on the issues that matter to our communities as a Democratic District Leader, journalist and community activist. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Since releasing the statement last week, Kagan said he has resumed his responsibilities as community liaison to Comptroller John Liu. He has also gone back to his show with the Russian Television Network, with his first broadcast hitting airwaves this Friday – as well as his newspaper and radio work.
Kagan said he has not yet endorsed anyone else in the 48th District race, saying that he will soon and will campaign hard for that person.
“If I make an endorsement of any candidate, I will campaign with that candidate. Who will believe my endorsement if it’s just an endorsement on paper?” he told Sheepshead Bites.
Although Kagan declined to say who he would support, the likely target of his endorsement is Chaim Deutsch. Kagan was a vocal critic of Igor Oberman, who is running on the Working Families Party line, and who Kagan recently blamed for helping undermine his campaign. He’s equally unlikely to endorse Republican David Storobin, having won his campaign for district leader in 2012 on the premise that the 24-year incumbent, Michael Geller, had a history of endorsing Republicans.
Asked why he hasn’t already come out in favor of Deutsch or another candidate, Kagan said it’s a matter of timing.
“I already had a conversation and congratulated [Deutsch] on his victory. Look, I need some time, that’s all I’m saying. Don’t jump in front of everybody,” he said.