The chairman of the Brooklyn Democratic Party was left scratching his head when Democratic officials endorsed a Russian media mogul write-in candidate over the party’s nominee in a City Council race yesterday.
Frank Seddio was almost as amused as he was bewildered by the decision, less than three weeks before Election Day.
While the vast majority of the city’s political figures have flocked to leading mayoral candidates Christine Quinn, Bill de Blasio and Bill Thompson, John Liu has quietly assembled a seemingly unlikely coalition in southern Brooklyn.
Even though he’s placing a distant fifth in the polls and has been battered by a serious fund-raising scandal, a pair of assemblymen and two top City Council candidates are soldiering onward on Mr. Liu’s behalf.
The real estate industry-backed PAC Jobs for New York has been grabbing headlines for their hefty independent expenditures on behalf of City Council candidates, but another pro-business PAC is quietly wading into several key contests, too.
The Small Business Coalition, a PAC dedicated to propping up more moderate candidates interested in lowering business fines and minimizing regulations, announced their latest round of endorsements today, backing incumbent Councilwoman Annabel Palma and open-seat contenders Vanessa Gibson, Rafael Espinal, Robert Cornegy, Ari Kagan and Ken Biberaj.
One candidate meowed. Another, taking a page from the Anthony Weiner playbook, rose up to denounce most of his rivals. And a third claimed his Russian opponent, a fellow Soviet émigré, was engaging in Communist class warfare.
The Democratic candidates for the open 48th Council District seat squared off in Flatbush last night, and made it clear, early and often, that they do not like each other.
Uttering Russian phrases and offering paeans to Soviet military sacrifices, the Democratic candidates for mayor battled for the affections of elderly Russians at a forum in Brooklyn earlier tonight.
All of the mayoral candidates, except absent Council Speaker Christine Quinn, strained to relate to the relatively conservative, Russian-speaking crowd packed into the first floor of Read More
Secrets and subterfuge
Over the past weekend, two Russian-American pols, embittered rivals running for the same City Council district this year, escorted their preferred mayoral hopefuls along the Brighton Beach boardwalk.
First, on a sultry Friday afternoon, Democrat Ari Kagan led Comptroller John Liu through the elegant Tatiana Restaurant on the boardwalk, greeting voters in the middle of a late lunch. Two days later, Republican David Storobin brought Joe Lhota, a former deputy mayor in the Giuliani Administration, to do the same exact thing
And, although mayoral politics may have been the theme of the day, the political animosity from their respective Council campaigns was very present as well.
In a scathing letter to labor unions and progressive political clubs, Democratic Councilman Lew Fidler accused fellow Democrat Igor Oberman, who is seeking to represent a neighboring district, of leaking information to his one-time Republican opponent.
Mr. Fidler entered a hotly-contested special election for the State Senate last year, losing by only 13 votes. One of the contributing factors to the loss, Mr. Fidler said, was Mr. Oberman passing along campaign secrets to his GOP rival, David Storobin. Mr. Fidler argued that these actions should disqualify Mr. Oberman, who has positioned himself as the most left-wing candidate in his southern Brooklyn City Council race.
“Igor Oberman purported to support me. In actuality, he was a ‘mole’ inside my campaign for Storobin,” Mr. Fidler charged.
City Comptroller John Liu will announce the endorsement of a slew of Democratic officials from across Brooklyn Friday in another effort by his mayoral campaign to show he’s gaining steam, despite the recent guilty verdicts against his former campaign treasurer and a fund-raiser.
The supporters include Assemblywoman Inez Barron, City Council candidate Ari Kagan, and Democratic district leaders Melba Brown, Betty Ann Canizio, Jeanette Givant, Christopher Olechowski, Chris Owens, Corey Provost and Charles Ragusa.
Brighton Beach Battle
Councilman Mike Nelson’s district was controversially reshaped during this year’s redistricting process to contain a higher percentage of Russian-American constituents, and that change is clearly shaking up the race to replace him. Previously, District Leader Ari Kagan was one of the only candidates openly campaigning for the seat, but now a bevy of additional hopefuls are poised to join him.
“The lines look good! The lines look good!” attorney Igor Oberman, who temporarily ran against the then-powerful, now-incarcerated State Senator Carl Kruger before withdrawing his campaign, told Politicker. “I haven’t made any decision but I can say every morning, the lines get louder and louder.”
At a pro-Israel rally earlier today, Brooklyn District Leader Ari Kagan told Politicker that he will file to run for City Council within the next few days, entering what is likely to be a hotly-contested battle for term-limited Councilman Michael Nelson’s seat.
And, Mr. Kagan said, he has friends in high places already lined up to support his candidacy, including Frank Seddio, the chairman of the Kings County Democratic Party.