Archive for the tag 'elections'

Source: Henry campaign.

A candidate hoping to unseat State Senator John Sampson, who is mired in legal trouble, is touting his support from district residents.

Sean Henry announced today that more than 300 voters have pledged support for his campaign, just a week and a half after campaign operations got off the ground.

“The 19th District deserves better and I’m honored the community has rallied around my campaign for State Senate over the week and a half. With the support of these first 300 residents, I look forward to building a campaign that focuses on what the community truly deserves from an elected official – results,” said Henry in an e-mail statement.

Henry is looking to take out State Senator John Sampson, who currently represents the 19th District, which spans a chunk of Sheepshead Bay, as well as Brownsville, East New York, Canarsie, Bergen Beach and Mill Basin. Sampson has been facing troubling headlines since May 2013, when he was charged as part of a far ranging corruption scandal, and he’s currently facing embezzlement charges from his role in the sale of foreclosed homes.

Henry, who last year ran unsuccessfully for City Council in the 42nd District, is a Chicago native who faced homelessness as a teenager. He joined the U.S. Army in 1995, and attended Southern Illinois University. He moved to Brooklyn in 2000 to earn a master’s in Public Administration at New York University.

In addition to homeless issues, Henry is building a campaign around affordable housing, adding seats in local schools, improving mass transportation, and securing promises to residents for Superstorm Sandy-related aid.

Henry isn’t the only one looking to unseat the embattled incumbent. Leon Miles, an advocate for the disabled, is also in the running.

Two other candidates have yet to formally announce, but are widely rumored to be seriously considering the seat: Samuel Pierre, who heads a nonprofit and is a former staffer of Sampson’s, and Dell Smitherman, a political director with healthcare workers’ union 1199 SEIU. Both are members of the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club that’s closely aligned to the county party leadership, which has not yet said if they will support Sampson’s reelection or the campaigns of one of his opponents.

Henry, Miles and Smitherman all have registered campaign committees with the state Board of Elections. Pierre does not.

Steven Cymbrowitz (l.) and Ben Akselrod (r.)

Conservative Democrat Ben Akselrod appears to be launching his second attempt to unseat incumbent Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, recently filing papers with the state to form a campaign committee.

Akselrod mounted his first challenge to Cymbrowitz in 2012, rising from relative obscurity to a credible candidate with the assistance of his close friend Ari Kagan. Akselrod came close to defeating Cymbrowitz in the Democratic primary, coming less than 300 votes shy of victory. He continued on to the general election on the Independence line, making it a three-way race with Republican Russ Gallo. Cymbrowitz won the general with a wide margin.

Akselrod and his supporters led a hard-knuckled campaign, in which the incumbent was criticized for not opposing a mosque just outside of his district, voting for a bill that encouraged tolerance education in schools including tolerance of homosexuals, and, just days before the primary election, marrying a woman who is not Jewish.

The race brought citywide media attention after Akselrod’s campaign released a flier with a typo claiming that the assemblyman “allowed crime to go up over 50% in the negrohood,” a claim that was factually incorrect regardless of the typo.

Cymbrowitz stayed mum for most of the campaign, leading one outlet to say he was running a “gentleman’s campaign,” but eventually spoke out against “vicious” tactics two weeks after the primary.

Although it’s widely expected, it’s still not fully clear whether Akselrod will run this year. Because of illness, he did not attend last night’s meeting of the Bay Democrats, the club where he serves as president and where he is likely to announce.

District Leader Ari Kagan, a close friend and adviser to Akselrod, told Sheepshead Bites that the papers were simply the first steps to forming an “exploratory committee” to determine whether Akselrod will run.

“He told me it’s an exploratory committee. When he decides 100 percent, he’ll have a big kickoff. Like in May, when the weather is nice,” said Kagan.

Akselrod, however, sounded very much like a candidate in an interview yesterday with Politicker, which first reported on the campaign filings.

“I certainly hope to win. Look, the status quo can’t continue forever. I think I have more energy, more desire to do the job,” Akselrod told Politicker. “There are still many problems with Hurricane Sandy recovery … It’s a year and a half later and we’re still talking about things that should have been done 15 days after the storm hit.”

Akselrod did not return a request to comment in time for publication. We’ll update this post if we here back from him.

Sean Henry (Source: electseanhenry.com)

Homeless advocate Sean Henry has formally announced his bid to unseat State Senator John Sampson, who is mired in legal troubles connected to corruption allegations.

News of Henry’s campaign hit Politicker yesterday, and the campaign issued a press release and launched a website this morning. Among the announcements is that Henry has already put together a professional political team, positioning himself as a serious contender.

According to the candidate’s website, Henry is a Chicago native who faced homelessness as a teenager. He joined the U.S. Army in 1995, and attended Southern Illinois University. He moved to Brooklyn in 2000 to earn a master’s in Public Administration at New York University.

Henry went to work at the Department of Homeless Services, where he worked his way up the ranks to Special Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner, and claims to have spearheaded negotiations between city agencies and private organizations on community-based housing stability services. He most recently worked as a consultant to a non-profit offering community-based services.

“Too many people in this district our struggling, and I understand what that feels like,” said Henry in a press release. “There are people living without hot, running water for weeks on end; people whose ceilings are crumbling before their very eyes. There are kids who aren’t getting the education they deserve at the schools given to them. This situation is unacceptable. The people of the 19th Senate District deserve an elected official that places their needs above all else, and that’s what I will do as their representative.”

Henry, who last year ran for City Council in the 42nd District, an election ultimately won by Inez Barron, appears to mean business. He’s hired political consultant Hank Sheinkopf, as well as professional fundraisers, an election law attorney and an experienced public relations team.

The announcement could spell trouble for State Senator John Sampson, who currently represents the 19th District, which spans a chunk of Sheepshead Bay, as well as Brownsville, East New York, Canarsie, Bergen Beach and Mill Basin.

Sampson has been facing troubling headlines since May 2013, when he was charged as part of a far ranging corruption scandal.

In March of 2012, Sampson allegedly sought out [former Queens State Senator Shirley] Huntley’s advice after being approached by a businessman allegedly offering bribes in exchange for help regarding his business at Kennedy International Airport. The airport is located in the district Huntley used to represent.

Since then the list has grown longer. It was alleged that the senator sought to silence witnesses in the case suggesting he stole more than $400,000 from the sale of foreclosed homes. Later that same month, state officials began investigating the fate of more than $39,000 earmarked for a charity for inner city youth. He is also being eyed for three cases of campaign donations that seemed to vanish from Sampson’s accounts, and allegations that businessmen who lobbied his office were charged retainer fees for duties that are supposed to be part of his job as a legislator.

Sampson hasn’t announced what his reelection bid yet, but he continues to maintain innocence in the investigations. According to Politicker, if Sampson decides to run for reelection he will have the hard job of clearing his name with the public and beating two challengers. The other challenger to the seat is Leon Miles, another former Council candidate.

Source: Recchia campaign

Source: Recchia campaign

Former City Councilman Domenic Recchia on Saturday officially announced his bid for the 11th Congressional District, the seat currently occupied by Republican Michael Grimm.

Recchia made the announcement before a crowd of supporters in front of his mother’s Staten Island home, where he and a host of lawmakers backing him took aim squarely at his opponent and the Republican party.

Politicker reports:

“I won’t be going to Washington to carry water for my party. I’ll be caring for the hopes and dreams of the people I’m there to represent–you,” Mr. Recchia told the crowd. “I’ll make you one more promise: I will continue to conduct myself honorably because my mom wouldn’t have it any other way. We all know that Mr. Grimm can be a little pugnacious.”

… “Well, starting now he has to pick on somebody his own size,” Mr. Recchia said.

… Mr. Recchia is looking to ride the demographic and ideological shifts underway in the traditionally Republican borough. While a Republican mayoral candidate won the borough in last year’s general election, President Barack Obama eked out a victory there two years ago. Left-leaning, minority voters are also increasingly populating Staten Island’s north shore, where Democrats like Mr. Recchia have performed well.

Although Grimm’s campaign has been the subject of a federal probe into fundraising improprieties, much of the statements at the weekend rally instead focused on recent headlines depicting Grimm as a short-tempered brute. They zeroed in on his well-publicized comments to a NY1 reporter, who he threatened to throw off a balcony in Washington after the reporter asked about the fundraising allegations. Former Congressman Michael McMahon targeted the allegations that Grimm had a sexual romp with a woman in a Bay Ridge bar.

Congressman Jerry Nadler said at the rally that the district needs a congressman who will be respected by his colleagues and the public.

“Nobody respects Grimm,” he said. “Nobody intelligent can respect Grimm.”

Grimm, meanwhile, had a campaign rally and fundraiser over the weekend, drawing approximately 240 supporters, SILive reports. There, he taunted Democrats for their weak showing in Staten Island, promised a ferocious campaign, and said that the seat would remain staunchly Republican for years to come.

SILive reports:

He predicted an outsized victory in November.

“But we’re not just going to win,” he said. “We’re going to run away with this election. We’re going to let them know this is a contact sport.”

For Democrats who say that the congressional district is in play, Grimm said, “Guess what? The Staten Island/Brooklyn seat is not vulnerable, is not up for grabs. It’s a Republican seat. So go home. Don’t waste your time. Don’t waste your money. This one is ours.”

Grimm’s supporters also seemed to derive glee from the congressman’s apparent mistreatment of members of the fourth estate. On threatening physical harm against the NY1 reporter, former Staten Island GOP Chairman Robert Scamardella drew laughs when he mocked the national outcry.

“Oh, the inhumanity of it,” Scamardella said to laughter from the crowd.

It appears Grimm’s Staten Island supporters are not shaken by those headlines either. Both candidates marched in Staten Island’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, where SILive interviewed attendees.

Staten Island resident Chris Chiafullo told the outlet he would vote for Grimm, and didn’t see the threats being much of a concern in the borough.

“The balcony thing maybe made a difference outside Staten Island, but not here,” he said.

Although Staten Island surely remains the district’s base, the Brooklyn portion has grown in the latest round of redistricting. While the seat before covered Bay Ridge and a sliver of Bensonhurst and Gravesend, it has now swelled to include almost all of Gravesend and a hunk of Sheepshead Bay.

 

John Gangemi

John Gangemi

State Senator Marty Golden will see a challenge in this year’s state election from former Democratic City Councilman John Gangemi, Politicker reports.

Gangemi most recently made news when he ran an unsuccessful and largely unfunded primary campaign for Brooklyn borough president, although he was booted from the ballot before election day.

“Yes, I’m running,” Mr. Gangemi told Politicker. “Why not? Listen, I have 50 years of experience. I’m a former elected official, a former prosecutor … I don’t agree with [Mr. Golden's] philosophy, I don’t agree with his legislation. I think it’s time for a change. He doesn’t reflect the neighborhood and community he was elected to represent.”

Gangemi, a Bensonhurst resident with a law practice in Bay Ridge, served as a councilman-at-large in the 1970s, representing the entire borough before that office was eliminated.

Until his bid for borough president, his career in politics remained dormant for more than 30 years, with the exception of support for Mark Murphy’s failed bid to unseat Michael Grimm, according to the Daily News.

Golden last faced an opponent in 2012, when upstart Democrat Andrew Gournardes scored 41.9 percent of the vote – a significant amount considering Golden’s far superior name recognition and fundraising.

baydems

Bay Democrats Vice President Sam Tsang, District Leader Ari Kagan, and President Ben Akselrod.

Nearly a year and a half after taking on and defeating Michael Geller, the 24-year Democratic Leader of the 45th Assemby District, Ari Kagan finally has the political club he promised his supporters.

Bay Democrats celebrated its grand opening in the headquarters of the Davidzon Radio media empire (2508 Coney Island Avenue) on Wednesday with a crowd of approximately 70 people and a lineup of elected officials showering praise on the Russian-American activist.

Club leaders hailed the event as a re-opening, pointing to the group’s October 2012 formation, when they held a celebration at the Bainbridge Center in Sheepshead Bay. Advertised as a “unity club” that spanned the area’s various ethnic and religious groups, the club’s activity petered out after Superstorm Sandy hit days later, and never had an official home until now.

Kagan said now that a home base has been established for Bay Democrats, it’s time to get down to business.

“Now that Bay Democrats has a home we can focus on the issues affecting our community. I am most optimistic because of the broad support we have from the community,” he said in a press release.

The event attracted a slew of elected officials including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Assemblyman Bill Colton, Councilmen David Greenfield, Chaim Deutsch, Mark Treyger and former City Comptroller John Liu, among others.

The club is headed by Ben Akselrod, a conservative Democrat who unsuccessfully challenged Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz in 2012. Chinese-American activist Sam Tsang will serve as vice president.

District leaders are party positions elected by registered voters of the party. In addition to influencing the leadership and platform of the local and state political party, they’re charged with rallying local bases in support of candidates. They do this largely through political clubs like Bay Democrats, which recruit and organize volunteers for campaign-related activities like petition-signing and preparing mailers.

While Kagan has pitched the club as a unity club, the vast majority of the attendees on Wednesday were Russian American, and the location, inside the headquarters of perhaps the largest Russian-language media empire, may offer a hint at the club’s target base.

And with leadership that includes Kagan, Akselrod and Tsang, all of whom have been critical of Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, it’s likely they’ll back a challenger to the incumbent in the Assembly primary later this year.

The group will hold weekly meetings on Wednesday nights.

Lawyer Mark Nussbaum

Nussbaum (Source: RUNY)

I’m not quite sure why one would release a statement in response to a quote published a month and half ago, or why one would attack a former elected official of the same party who has said he will never run for office again. But that’s exactly what’s going on this week, with Republican District Leader Marcus Nussbaum of the 46th Assembly District “taking issue” with former State Senator David Storobin for comments he made after the election.

Storobin blamed his loss in November’s race for the 48th District of the City Council, ultimately won by Chaim Deutsch, on low turnout in the Russian-speaking community. Following redistricting, the area became known as a “Super Russian” district, in which Russian speakers are the largest voting block. But apparently that didn’t benefit Storobin.

Nussbaum, who rose to local prominence after providing pro bono legal representation to Bay People in their fight against the Voorhies Avenue mosque, rejected Storobin’s narrative, saying that his loss was because of his failure to garner support from the party. To add some context here, the Brooklyn GOP is in the midst of a power struggle, with a faction led by State Senator Marty Golden looking to unseat county boss Craig Eaton, and Storobin wasn’t exactly a favored son of either side.

Here’s Nussbaum’s press release in full:

Marcus Nussbaum, one of the two newly elected Republican District Leaders in the 46th Assembly District, has stated that he strongly disagrees with former State Senator and City Council candidate David Storobin’s recent statement that he lost his election because the Russian electorate did not come out to vote.

“This analysis labels the Russian community as disinterested in civic affairs. I found this to be in accurate. As I campaigned, talking with hundreds of Russian constituents, I found the overwhelming majority to be very much concerned with government affairs and eager to cast their votes,” Nussbaum said.

Mr. Storobin’s remarks were included in a Politicker article entitled “Non-Russian Triumphs in ‘Super-Russian’ Council District” written by Ross Barkan last November 7th. Mr. Storobin blamed turnout for the letdown, “It’s disappointing the Russian community tends not to come out in high numbers,” he said, reflecting on his bid.”

Nussbaum explained, “I am of Russian descent, and convinced that my victory last September, together with that of my running mate, Lucretia Regina-Potter, happened because of the strong support that we received from the Russian Republican community. In order for us to receive such support, we personally asked for it by meeting with as many Republican voters as possible throughout the entire 46th Assembly District.”

“In spite of the fact that the established factions did not support us, we were able to overcome those obstacles and their very strong opposition. In my opinion, Mr. Storobin lost because he failed to reach out to those people, including myself and my co-leader, who had just succeeded in convincing a large number of Republican voters to actually come out and vote in a Primary election,” Nussbaum stated.

“Could it have been political rather than cultural considerations that were at play?” Nussbaum asked. “At this stage, one is inclined to conclude that perhaps Mr. Storobin did not value our support, or worse, he may have been instructed not to reach out to us by his alignment with one established Republican faction.”

“The result of all of the bickering and infighting among Brooklyn Republicans is that it is almost impossible for Republican candidates for public office to be elected. We must stand united, work for a common victory, and overcome these petty differences in order to succeed. It is not a community that is disappointing, but perhaps the candidates that take the community for granted,” Nussbaum concluded.

deutsch-victory-1

Deutsch, following his primary victory.

After a strong showing in the 48th District City Council race to replace term-limited Michael Nelson, Councilman-elect Chaim Deutsch has sent out a press release thanking voters, and said he’s hitting the ground running.

According to the release, Deutsch has continued to walk the neighborhood thanking voters and listening to constituent concerns, and he’ll continue to do so for the next 60 days until he takes office on January 1, 2014.

“After a long campaign season, many candidates take a well deserved vacation, I decided to get to work immediately” said Deutsch in the release. “Quality of life issues rank high on my list and I intend on being an aggressive, problem solver for my district.”

“I want to sincerely thank all those that supported me and look forward to working hard on behalf of all my constituents,” he added.

City Council candidate David Storobin

Following his defeat on Tuesday to Councilman-elect Chaim Deutsch, former State Senator David Storobin told Sheepshead Bites that he has no plans of ever running for office again, and also threw a jab at his Republican colleagues, likening them to a “debating society.”

The comment was made in an e-mail to us, following a tweet we posted in jest after the results of Tuesday’s election came in.

In reply, Storobin sent us this:

On twitter, you wondered about my future runs for office, against Cymbrowitz or someone else. Let me put this to rest: I didn’t run for the last two years because I’m obsessed with campaigning for public office. I’ve always been interested in politics and felt it was a way of making a difference for the better. The way things lined up, I had to run 3 times in a row, a nightmare I would’ve never started had I known how long it would take. But once I was in it, this is what I had to do. Under the circumstances, those were the correct choices, regardless of the final outcome.

My one regret in all this is that all my time in public eye has been very divisive because that’s the nature of elections where you have to distinguish yourself from your opponent, particularly when you are trying to be “the first”, both as a Russian and as a Republican, which upsets a lot of the traditional political balance.

I wish I had the chance to work without the divisiveness of elections. The one article I enjoyed the most about myself featured a quote from a CUNY professor who said I wasn’t just a Russian Senator, I tried to work for everyone in my brief tenure. I wish I could’ve done more of that – help my neighbors, regardless of their ethnicity, political affiliation or even if they like me or not.

And now things will go back to normal. I will go back to being a lawyer. Brooklyn Democrats won’t have to worry about getting re-elected. Brooklyn Republicans will go back to being a small debating society. Everything makes sense to everyone again.

After we requested clarification on whether or not this means he was done with politics, Storobin was unequivocal:

“Yes, I have no intention of ever running for office again,” he wrote.

If this is the end of the line for Storobin’s political career, it was a brief but historic stint. Storobin made his mark as the first Russian-American to sit in the State Senate, a distinction he won after an uphill campaign in a 2012 special election, taking on one of the city’s most powerful politicians, Councilman Lew Fidler. The victory was an upset, and seen by observers as an indicator of a Republican resurgence emerging in Southern Brooklyn.

Unfortunately for Storobin, his two subsequent campaigns, one to take on Simcha Felder for the “Super Jewish” district last year, and this year’s run for City Council, did not have the same success.

de Blasio (Source: Streets Blog)

Well, if you’ve managed to stay away from the television, radio, newsstands, social media or any website geared towards New York residents, here’s the list of citywide and borough winners from last night’s election, as well as those in Southern Brooklyn races:

  • Bill de Blasio (Mayor)
  • Letitia James (Public Advocate)
  • Scott Stringer (Comptroller)
  • Eric Adams (Brooklyn Borough Presidnet)
  • Kenneth Thompson (Brooklyn District Attorney)
  • Chaim Deutsch (CD48)
  • Vincent Gentile (CD43)
  • Mark Treyger (CD47)
  • Alan Maisel (CD46)
  • David Greenfield (CD44)
  • Jumaane Williams (CD45)

What do you think? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss? Or a whole new era for Brooklyn and New York City?

Let us know in the comments below.

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