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May 18, 2010 / Brooklyn news / Politics / Williamsburg / Committeman Confrontation

Cohn heads! Steve wants his son to take his district leader seat

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Call it the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost!

Longtime Democratic District Leader Steve Cohn has apparently abandoned his re-election campaign, hoping to have his son, Warren, succeed him — all with the apparent blessing of the county’s Democratic boss, Assemblyman Vito Lopez.

On Thursday afternoon, Warren Cohn announced his candidacy for the obscure, little-known position that his father has held for nearly three decades.

“I’ve been wanting to run for office, and I think I can have a good influence on the community,” Cohn, a staffer for Rep. Ed Towns (D-Fort Greene), wrote on his Facebook page.

The younger Cohn faces a formidable challenge from feisty reform candidate Lincoln Restler, a leader of the two-year-old New Kings Democrats club, who is running more against Lopez than against either Cohn.

“Whether it’s the father or the son, my campaign is about a bold new vision for a progressive Democratic Party,” he said. “Brooklyn deserves no less.”

This district leader race is is yet another twist in the hottest political story of the spring, as dozens of candidates throughout the borough are mounting challenges against incumbent leaders in a bid to wrest control of the Party away from Lopez (D-Bushwick).

The job itself is fairly routine. State committeemembers — there are four per assembly district, two per party — are responsible for hiring poll workers during Election Day, approving judicial candidates for civil court and filling party vacancies.

Oh, and they also select the county chairman — and Lopez clearly wants to keep the job.

To do so, Lopez is not only backing candidates against district leaders who displease him, but created five, unelected at-large district leaders — and then filled them with his allies.

As a result of Lopez’s power grab, Alan Fleishman, a district leader in a neighboring assembly district, said he would no longer seek re-election.

Both Cohns attended a Lopez fundraiser last Thursday, and appealed for his support. The party boss did not publicly endorse Warren Cohn against Restler, but sources said that he is receptive to Cohn’s campaign.

Restler, of course, isn’t counting on support from Lopez, because getting it means that he would be a Lopez supporter.

“The only people Vito wants around are 100 percent yes people,” said Restler. “Vito is playing some offense now and so will we.”

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Reader Feedback

Moshe Aron Kestenbaum from Williamsburg ODA says:
""Opponent Lincoln Resler says he's free of the Vito Lopez taint.""" The truth sets people free. The way I see it, this dancehall music is becoming a garage sale.
May 18, 2010, 8:27 am
Anette from Greenpoint says:
Vito Lopez can go suck an egg - we don't need him or his mafia boss's sons running our districts.
May 18, 2010, 10:23 am
Voter from Brooklyn says:
Vito Lopez is the best thing that has happened to the Brooklyn Democratic Party in a very long time.

Lincoln Reslter will soon make his deal with the UJ Care faction of the Williamsburg Hasidic community, and we'll have another proxy battle between Cohn and Restler. Will Restler's hands be clean then?

One question I have though is, if not Lopez who else would be able to organize and run the Brooklyn Democratic Party? Joann Simon? Chris Owens? These two has-beens represent the narrowest ends of the Brooklyn political spectrum, and couldn’t even organize either of their respective tiny political clubs for their own previous competitive campaigns, let alone the largest Countywide Democratic Party in the US, so why make it seem like this election is a challenge to Lopez' leadership?

He has the support of the great majority of Brooklyn Democratic Party activists, with the exception of a few small time "reformers" who have made a cottage industry of making big promises and delivering very, very little.
May 18, 2010, 6:59 pm
al pankin from downtown says:
this is great news, the cohn's have been long time Brooklyn political activists, they know the system and have the best interests of Brooklyn at heart. support them, support downtown Brooklyn.
May 18, 2010, 9:39 pm
mark from southside says:
oh, "voter," you crack me up. lopez is a tyrant who cares only about his own grip on power, not the democratic party. he's supported republicans for mayor and governor, and worked like a madman (along with you steve, i mean, "voter") to try and defeat progressive democrat diana reyna.

i doubt it matters if the reformers win these races or not because it can't be long until vito lopez's shady ways win him a one-way ticket to jail just like the guy before him.
May 29, 2010, 5:05 am

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