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A guide to Brooklyn’s competitive Assembly races

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It’s that time of year again! 

Voters will head to the ballot box to cast their votes in the newly-redrawn Assembly districts around Kings County on June 28, with early voting taking place until June 26. 

With redistricting, many voters are in a new district, and will have a different slate of candidates to choose from — but many busy Brooklynites are just learning about their choices. 

So, here’s a handy list of all the competitive assembly races from Greenpoint to Coney Island:

AD43: Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Crown Heights

Incumbent Brian Cunningham assumed this seat after winning a March special election but is facing a number of primary challengers. The seat was vacated earlier this year by Diana Richardson, who left to become Deputy Borough President.

Brian Cunningham: Cunningham has served in Albany for three months, after winning a March special election with the backing of the Brooklyn Democratic Party. He also has the backing of Mayor Eric Adams, Councilmember Rita Joseph, and unions like 32BJ and 1199 SEIU. He had previously run for City Council in the area and had worked in the political and nonprofit spheres the last few years. His top three issues, according to his profile on NYC Votes, are creating high quality public schools, making housing affordable for all, and combating the ongoing climate crisis.

Jelanie DeShong: DeShong unsuccessfully ran in the special on the WFP line after losing the Democratic nomination in County Committee. While he still has the WFP line in November, the former aide to Gov. Hochul is seeking a rematch to run as a Democrat. He has the backing of Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, State Sen. Zellnor Myrie, former Assemblymember Richardson, and the WFP. His top three issues are healthcare access, curbing gun violence, and housing affordability.

Tim Hunter: At 23, Hunter is the youngest candidate in the race, and would be the youngest state legislator if elected. A former aide to State Sen. Julia Salazar, his platform is also arguably the furthest to the left. He has also served on Community Board 17 and as a public school educator. On NYC Votes, he fit seven entries into the three slots for his top issues: public health/wellness, public safety, housing, climate change, education, maternal health, and childcare.

Pierre Albert: Albert currently works in the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery helping storm-affected residents secure stable housing, and has previously worked for Eric Adams when the mayor was a State Senator. His top issues are affordable housing, gun violence, and reforming education.

AD46: Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Coney Island, Brighton Beach

Incumbent Democrat Mathylde Frontus is facing a primary challenge from District Leader Dionne Brown-Jordan.

Mathylde Frontus: Frontus joined the Assembly in 2018 after a special election to replace indicted predecessor Pamela Harris. An ally of the reformist New Kings Democrats, and foe of the county party, she is backed by the Working Families Party, DC37, Borough President Reynoso, City Councilmember Justin Brannan, and State Sen. Andrew Gounardes.

Dionne Brown-Jordan: Brown-Jordan serves as a Democratic District Leader and assistant treasurer for the Brooklyn Democratic Party. She raised eyebrows earlier this year after allegedly appointing a dead woman to County Committee. She recently won the backing of influential US Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. Brown-Jordan does not have a campaign website as far as we can tell.

Both candidates did not respond to NYC Votes’ questionnaire.

AD50: Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene

Two people are running for Assembly in AD50: Incumbent Emily Gallagher and political newcomer Paddy O’Sullivan.

Emily Gallagher: Gallagher was elected to the Assembly in 2020, unseating longtime incumbent Joe Lentol. The Assemblymember had previously served on Brooklyn Community Board 1 and helped to organize the Greenpoint Task Force, which addressed sexual violence in Greenpoint. 

In her first term in office, Gallagher has taken strong stances on sustainability and climate, co-sponsoring the All-Electric Buildings Act and speaking out against new fossil fuel projects in the neighborhood. The freshman Assemblymember also supported “Good Cause” eviction reforms. 

If re-elected, Gallagher says she’ll continue the fight to protect workers, lower utility bills, and make streets safer for pedestrians.

Paddy O’Sullivan: A Williamsburg firefighter, O’Sullivan bills himself as a progressive with working-class values. The foundation of his campaign, according to his website, is making living in New York City more affordable for longtime, working-class New Yorkers.

O’Sullivan’s campaign is wide-ranging, with promises to build more affordable senior housing in the district, implement voting reforms to incentivize voters to turn out to the polls, and pass the New York Health Act. His climate platform closely mirrors Gallagher’s, with plans to stop new fossil fuel infrastructure from being constructed and speed New York’s transition to renewable energy sources.

AD51: Sunset Park, Greenwood Heights, South Slope, Red Hook

Democratic socialist Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes faces a primary challenge from Erik Frankel.

Marcela Mitaynes: Mitaynes was one of a number of DSA-backed insurgents to topple Brooklyn Assembly incumbents in 2020. She was arguably the most prominent voice in the fight to establish an Excluded Workers Fund during the pandemic, a cause for which she went on a 12-day hunger strike. Supported by DSA, the WFP, and AOC, she says her top three issues are Housing for All, Green New Deal, and a “free and fully funded CUNY.”

Erik Frankel: Frankel is the fourth-generation owner of Frankel’s Shoe Store in Sunset Park, which has operated in his family since the 1890s. He ran for City Council last year against another DSA insurgent, Alexa Aviles, on the Libertarian and Conservative Party lines. His top issues are “disingenuous politicians, fake community activists,” public safety in the district, and “increasing economic opportunities and homeownership.”

AD54: Bushwick, Cypress Hills, East New York

Democratic Socialist Samy Nemir Olivares is challenging seven-year Democratic incumbent Erik M. Dilan in AD45.

Erik M. Dilan: Before he was sworn into office in 2015, Dilan spent 12 years on the New York City Council in a seat he won after it was vacated by his father, Martin Malave Dilan, who was moving on to the state Senate.

Dilan’s relationship with real estate and developers has been at the forefront of his career in the Assembly. While he has introduced legislation that would ensure that seniors are eligible for affordable housing programs and that disabled people who use service animals cannot be discriminated against for housing, Dilan was fined for breaking conflict of interest laws and illegally accepting an affordable apartment he was not eligible for in 2015.

Samy Nemir-Olivares: DSA-endorsed Nemir-Olivares joined the race after years serving on Brooklyn Community Board 4 and as a district leader in the neighboring AD53. His platform includes justice reform across the board, including outlawing predatory court fees and reforming the parole system; as well as fully funding NYCHA, passing Good Cause Eviction reforms, and expanding affordable housing programs.

A person votes behind a voting booth at Fort Hamilton High School’s polling site in Bay Ridge on Election Day 2020. Early voting for the primaries is on now though June 26.File photo by Paul Frangipane

AD55: Ocean Hill, Brownsville, Crown Heights

Incumbent Democrat Latrice Walker is facing a primary challenge from Tracey Cashaw.

Latrice Walker: Walker, who has served since 2015, is most well-known as the prime sponsor of the state’s bail reform law; she recently went on a hunger strike to protest the bail reform rollbacks included in the state budget. Walker does not have a campaign website. She says her top three issues are criminal justice reform, affordable housing and homeownership, and environmental justice.

Tracey Cashaw: Cashaw does not have a campaign website, nor is there much information about her to be found. She did not respond to NYC Votes’ questionnaire.

AD57: Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights

Freshman incumbent Phara Souffrant-Forrest is facing a challenge from former district leader and State Committee member Olanike Alabi.

Phara Souffrant-Forrest: Souffrant-Forrest, a former nurse and member of the Crown Heights Tenants Union, took office in 2021 and has said her work as a tenant organizer inspired her decision to run for office. In her first year, Souffrant-Forrest’s hallmark bill, nicknamed “Less is More,” was passed by both the state Senate and the Assembly and signed by Governor Hochul. The bill reformed New York’s parole process, decreasing punishments for parolees who broke noncriminal parole rules like missing a curfew. 

Souffrant-Forrest says she’ll use a second term to push for the passage of the New York Health Act and fight for universal childcare, higher wages for home care workers, and more.

Olanike Alabi: Alabi has 12 years of experience as a district leader and State Committee member, and previously worked as the district manager for Brooklyn Community Board 2. The candidate has called herself a “champion for justice” and a strong supporter of social justice, and her platform includes pushing for municipal control of the MTA, which is operated by the state, creating home ownership opportunities, and expanding NYC Health + Hospitals while improving mental health services and promoting safe staffing levels in healthcare facilities.

AD58: East Flatbush, Brownsville, Canarsie

Democratic incumbent Monique Chandler-Waterman, who won this seat in a May special election, faces a rematch from Hercules Reid.

Monique Chandler-Waterman: Chandler-Waterman has only held her seat for about a month, after winning a special election to replace longtime rep Nick Perry. A longtime community activist and co-founder of local nonprofit East Flatbush Village, Chandler-Waterman had the Democratic nomination in the special, but the party apparatus refused to materially back her. A former candidate for City Council, she’s backed by the WFP, 1199 SEIU, Borough President Reynoso, and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. Her top three issues are affordable housing, quality public schools, and public health and wellness.

Hercules Reid: A longtime aide and confidante to Mayor Adams, Reid jumped into the special election late, running on the “Education is Key” ballot line with Adams’ backing, but couldn’t defeat the Democratic nominee. He seeks a rematch with Chandler-Waterman, whom he also briefly faced in a 2019 City Council election. Besides Adams, he’s backed by DC37 and the carpenters’ union, and he says his top three issues are investing in public education, protecting Black mothers during childbirth, and ending gun violence.

AD60: East New York, Spring Creek, Starrett City

Democratic incumbent Nikki Lucas, who won this East New York seat in a special election this year, faces a rematch from DSA-backed Keron Alleyne.

Nikki Lucas: Lucas won the seat in the February special election with the backing of the Brooklyn Democratic Party and Mayor Eric Adams. A longtime activist and former District Leader from Starrett City, she last year unsuccessfully sought the local City Council seat but lost to Charles Barron. Barron, the iconoclastic Black socialist, had previously held the Assembly seat, trading Council and Assembly seats with his wife Inez for the past decade. She vows to prioritize economic development, housing, healthcare and more, according to her campaign website.

Keron Alleyne: Alleyne is seeking a rematch in the primary after losing to Lucas in the special, where he ran on the Working Families Party Line. A former aide to Charles Barron, he embraces his mentor’s radical politics and has received the backing of the WFP, Democratic Socialists of America, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, among others. The top issue on Alleyne’s campaign website reads: “Housing is a human right.” Other key issues include education and transportation equity.

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