meet the new boss
Move over Governor Cuomo. As we explained when Frank Seddio emerged on top of the Kings County Democratic Party, nobody does Christmas like Mr. Seddio. He loves the holiday. A lot.
Mr. Seddio, who has a personal Facebook page named “Canarsie Christmas,” hosts a massive annual holiday display at his home in Canarsie that has included balletic animatronic smurfs, countless lights and earned legions of local fans make an annual pilgrimage to E. 93rd Street to view his Christmas decorations.
Though Mr. Seddio’s new position as Brooklyn Democratic Chairman means he has far more political duties than he did this time last year, there’s no stopping his Christmas cheer and he is ready to come back in full force. To wit, public relations guru George Arzt sent out a 11-paragraph press release detailing the upcoming unveiling of Mr. Seddio’s holiday exhibition, which notes the mammoth $300,000 display will have “500,000 lights, almost 100 animated dolls, and a talking Christmas tree.”
“I’ll tell you what. Monday is Columbus Day, I usually cook something,” Frank Seddio, the newly-elected Chairman of the Kings County Democratic Party said to begin our conversation in his Canarsie law office earlier today. “I’ll make you some eggplant parmesan. No reporters, just come as a person. Eggplant parmesan. I’m making a real special Sicilian dish that’s called ‘pasta con le sarde.’ It’s macaroni with sardines and it tastes ten times better than it sounds!”
We met Mr. Seddio in the morning, so the table before us lacked trays of food, but reporters interviewing him earlier this week were plowed full of macaroni, meatballs, sausages and breaded Italian-style chicken, he said, ticking off the list of dishes he had offered others. At one point in our discussion, a mailman walked in the room and Mr. Seddio urged him to drop by his Columbus Day feast as well. “Everybody comes to eat here when we have food,” he said.
Assemblyman Karim Camara, who was for a time the one hope reformers had to block Frank Seddio from succeeding Vito Lopez as the head of the Kings County Democratic Party, officially backed Mr. Seddio this afternoon in a move to unify the party right before the vote to replace Mr. Lopez. Barring a large meteor striking the planet or a something of that magnitude, Mr. Seddio now seems all but certain to be the new leader of the Kings County Democratic establishment.
meet the new boss
Last Thursday, Walter Mosley was elected to succeed Hakeem Jeffries in Brooklyn’s 57th Assembly District. Mr. Mosley was supported by Mr. Jeffries, who left the seat to run a successful congressional campaign, and the race was largely seen as a referendum on Mr. Jeffries’ ability to deliver for another candidate in his Central Brooklyn base. Politicker sat down with Mr. Jeffries yesterday to get his post-game analysis on Mr. Mosley’s campaign and the endorsements that didn’t go their way. Mr. Jeffries also talked about his plans for moving to Washington, his thoughts on the future of the Brooklyn Democratic Party in the wake of the Vito Lopez scandal and discussed ringing the opening bell at NASDAQ on the first anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protests.
innards of kings county politics
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.
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.
Veni vidi vito
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.
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.