meet the new boss
Last night, Brooklyn’s African American district leaders met in an effort to emerge with a united voice for Assemblyman Karim Camara to replace Assemblyman Vito Lopez as the chairman of the borough’s Democratic Party in the wake of his sexual harassment scandal. According to multiple accounts of people familiar with the meeting, this effort was unsuccessful.
The plan was to consolidate a significant number of district leader votes for Mr. Camara, which would provide a counterweight to the establishment favorite Frank Seddio for Mr. Lopez’s job. However, a substantial number of African American district leaders did not attend the meeting, Mr. Camara apparently wasn’t making the necessary calls, and not everyone agreed that all the stops needed to be pulled out for Mr. Camara’s candidacy.
innards of kings county politics
The race to replace Assemblyman Vito Lopez as the head of the Kings County Democratic Party wages on tonight.
Supporters of Frank Seddio are privately very confident they have secured enough votes, but those hoping for a win by Assemblyman Karim Camara are meeting right now to plan their upset and capture the needed majority of the county’s district leader vote.
The plan in question is effectively a double-bank shot.
With Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s announcement that he will not seek to continue his leadership in the Kings County Democratic Party, the race to replace him has currently shifted its focus to three names: District Leader Frank Seddio, Assemblyman Karim Camara and District Leader Jo Anne Simon. Mr. Seddio, an establishment favorite, is currently the frontrunner, and sources told Politicker that county insiders believe he’s already secured the necessary number of votes.
Ms. Simon’s and Mr. Camara’s paths to challenging Mr. Seddio are not equally steep, however.
Ms. Simon is most aligned with the reform-minded wing of the party, which controls roughly three votes out of the fifty-three total district leaders. On the other hand, Mr. Camara could potentially unite the reform vote with many of the African-American district leaders, eager to have their presence felt. While Mr. Camara, who endorsed the Lopez-backed candidacy of Councilman Erik Dilan when he challenged Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, isn’t the typical anti-Lopez reformer, he has shown some breaks with the establishment and has stature as the chairman of the Legislature’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus.
Veni vidi vito
It’s now certain that Assemblyman Vito Lopez will not be sitting atop of the Kings County Democratic Party in the future, so now the question becomes who replaces him.
The speculation has traveled around between various potential candidates with varying degrees of probability. While it’s impossible to discount other contenders, especially as there may be a big push for a female or minority candidate to replace Mr. Lopez, the early frontrunner seems to be Frank Seddio who has been calling around securing support for the bid.
Multiple sources inside the City Council have told The Politicker the race between Frank Seddio and Mercedes Narcisse to potentially succeed Councilman Lew Fidler in Brooklyn’s 46th District had a major impact on the vote for leadership of the Council’s Brooklyn delegation. Council members are voted to elect a chair of the Brooklyn delegation this afternoon and the main nominees were Jumaane Williams, David Greenfield and Darlene Mealy. Mr. Greenfield and Ms. Mealy won the vote and some insiders believe Mr. Williams was not elected to one of the chair positions because he hasn’t endorsed Mr. Seddio.
“If it were important for him to be Brooklyn delegation chair, he’s been told he would need to support Frank Seddio in order to ensure the votes in the delegation,” a Council insider said. “There is obviously pressure being put on Jumaane.”
Mr. Seddio vociferously denied the idea his race played a role in the Brooklyn leadership vote.
“I don’t believe that for one second that that’s the case,” he said. “I have no role in it. I’m flattered that I get something to say about something I have no title to. I wasn’t aware of it. I know nothing about it.”
Mercedes Narcisse told The Politicker she doesn’t “tolerate” the “sense of entitlement” her old friend, Frank Seddio, is bringing to the race to fill Lew Fidler’s seat in the City Council if Mr. Fidler is successful in his run for State Senate.
“Since I registered in 2007, if Frank decided to run against me, he’s supposed to let me know,” Ms. Narcisse said. “If he doesn’t let me know, that means he has a sense of entitlement. So, that I don’t tolerate. I think that it should be a seat with democratic process.”
Mr. Fidler is running to replace former State Senator Carl Kruger, who was forced to step down after pleading guilty to corruption charges in December. The special election for Mr. Kruger’s seat is scheduled for next month and, if Mr. Fidler is victorious, there will be another special election to fill his Council seat shortly after. Mr. Seddio said he doesn’t understand Ms. Narcisse’s criticism of him as entitled given the unique situation that led up to their race.
“I’m not sure what that means, I mean, truthfully, in a normal circumstance, this election would be held next year,’ Mr. Seddio said. “I dont know how far in advance you tell people you’re running for something. Isn’t it about weighing about all the options?”
Mr. Seddio and Ms. Narcisse have known each other for about 20 years and Mr. Seddio is the godfather of Ms. Narcisse’s daughter.
Ivrol Hines, the publisher of the New York Liberty Star, which bills itself as “New York’s first choice for Caribbean news,” says he’ll run for Councilman Lew Fidler’s seat when it becomes available.
“If the seat opens, I will be contesting it,” Mr. Hines said in an interview with Politicker this morning. “I just think we need someone who actually lives in the community, cares about the community, and shares the concerns and the problems that regular citizens do. And that’s why I’m getting in there.”
The prospective candidate’s campaign platform is focused heavily on education. “Each year, our budget gets cut. More and more kids are coming into our classrooms,” he explained. “There’s nothing a teacher can do when you have 30 plus kids, 7, 8, 9 years old, sitting in one class room.”
Frank Seddio is planning a bid to fill Lew Fidler’s City Council seat in Brooklyn’s 46th District.
“I was going to run in 2013 anyway, but I haven’t really begun anything until this week,” Mr. Seddio told The Politicker. “I will be putting together a committee pretty shortly, probably focusing on 2013, but if it becomes open, I’m definitely running.
Yesterday, Councilman Lew Fidler formally launched his campaign to fill the State Senate vacated by Carl Kruger, who resigned before pleading guilty to federal corruption charges.
“Frankly, and I’m not just being coy about it, my main concern right now is that Lew Fidler wins the State Senate seat and we don’t have a second Republican senator in our area of Brooklyn,” Mr. Seddio said. ”If he does win, his seat is probably going to open up in March.
Mr. Seddio is a lawyer, former judge and leader for the Democratic party in the 59th Assembly District who was a close ally of Mr. Kruger’s and is famous for having elaborate, annual displays of Christmas decorations at his home in Canarsie.
As Councilman Lew Fidler prepares to run for former State Senator Carl Kruger’s seat, the wheels are already in motion for at least one candidate preparing to replace Fidler.
Last night, Democratic Distrist Leader Frank Seddio, happily explained the ways in which David Weprin is entirely unlike the congressman he hopes to replace in the Ninth Congressional District.
“The one thing that everyone can always say about David is that he’s a nice guy,” said Seddio. “He certainly doesn’t come across with the arrogance of a Weiner, but very frankly he’s going to be a welcome addition to our elected officials here in Brooklyn.”