There were few primary election upsets in our southern Brooklyn coverage area, but that’s to be expected in New York City democracy, where a man awaiting a trial for punching out a photographer and a woman who is already collecting her retirement pension face only token challenges.
In the one upset of the night, newcomer Kevin Peter Carroll took down longtime State Committeeman Ralph Perfetto in Bay Ridge.
Here’s all the news that’s fit to print on a tight, caffeine-aided deadline (all results are preliminary, but accurate as of 11:30 pm on Tuesday):
Congress — Republican
Michael Grimm, 8,391
Michael Allegretti, 3,832
13th District, Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst
The war for the hearts and minds of Republicans in Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst — and for the right to take on popular freshman Rep. Mike McMahon (D–Bay Ridge) in November — resulted in a 68–31 percent victory for the more conservative Michael Grimm, a former Marine, FBI agent and Desert Storm vet.
Grimm ran an under-the-radar screen campaign, ducking public appearances, but enjoying the support of big name GOP leaders including former Mayor Giuliani, Sarah Palin and Sen. John McCain.
Allegretti, the small businessman-turned-environmentalist, never seemed to find the right tone in taking on the strident Grimm, first veering towards a moderate Republican voice, but then coming out against the so-called Ground Zero mosque and proclaiming his fealty to Rep. John Boehner, the controversial GOP leader in the House.
Allegretti’s loss hurts the Bay Ridge side of the district, as the Kings County GOP supported him in his loss.
In a show of how seriously the Democrats are taking the coming general election, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put out a statement saying that “Michael Grimm can’t be trusted.”
“Conflicting stories about his record and his past have come to define Grimm’s campaign and voters deserve answers if he hopes to gain their trust, let alone their vote,” said the statement, attributed to spokesman Shripal Shah. “It’s time for Michael Grimm to come clean.”
But Grimm fired back: “The victory proves that the public knows that I’m battle-tested, but I’m willing to bring the district back to conservative values that it’s always had. I’m looking forward to debate Michael McMahon and tie him to the liberal agenda.”
State Senate — Democrat
Kevin Parker, 73 percent
Wellington Sharpe, 27 percent
21st District, Flatbush, Midwood and Canarsie
State Sen. Kevin Parker won in a surprising landslide, a victory that speaks to the ineptitude of his longtime rival, Wellington Sharpe.
Not that Parker, who is awaiting trial for assaulting a New York Post photographer, was spinning it that way.
“I won in a landslide,” he said. “And this victory indicates that the voters were able to see through the politics of personal attacks both by my opponent and the media.”
When asked if his upcoming trial put a damper on things, he smiled.
“A damper on a landslide victory? No. Tonight is a victory for the people of this district,” he said.
Parker — who was first elected in 2002 — has had a tempestuous tenure. In addition to the alleged assault, he made headlines a few months ago by calling Senate colleagues “white supremacists.”
The seething senator was also charged in 2005 with assaulting a traffic agent who was trying to write him a ticket, and has weathered assault allegations by a former staffer — and even Sharpe, himself — though Parker was spared charges in those cases.
Sharpe, for his part, has spent the better part of the past decade trying to win himself a legislative position — any legislative position. He unsuccessfully challenged Parker in 2004, and has also run numerous other times, losing Council races in 2001 and 2007, and a 2002 state Senate race against Carl Andrews.
District Leader — Democrat
Kevin Peter Carroll, 1,026
Ralph Perfetto, 613
60th Assembly District, Bay Ridge
This one was one for the ages, not the aged.
Youngster Kevin Peter Carroll, a 24-year-old political newcomer, turned his leadership of an insurgent Democratic club into a 62–38 percent victory over one of the best-liked and best-known state committeeman in the borough, Ralph Perfetto.
“I’m so happy and proud and ecstatic,” Carroll said after his victory, which he attributed to the fact that he “talked about the issues.”
Among them, his contention that Perfetto and other power brokers have allowed the neighborhood to be sliced into five Assembly districts, watering down local power.
“It’s not a victory for me, but for redistricting reform in Bay Ridge,” Carroll said.
For his part, Perfetto praised Carroll’s “beat the bushes” campaign.
“He put his people out there, he worked and he got it,” the 18-year incumbent said. “He used some negative stuff, maybe that had some influence.”
Perfetto was possibly referring to a Carroll campaign mailer featuring Perfetto and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver cutting up a cake into five Assembly districts, a reference to Carroll’s contention that redistricting has hurt Bay Ridge.
What also hurt Perfetto, who had the backing of virtually all of the area’s elected officials, was a charge that he impersonated a lawyer in a 2008 court appearance, an allegatiown the former boxer has called “preposterous” and “politically motivated.”
Nonetheless, he was scheduled to go on trial in October, and faces up to a year in jail if convicted.
Assembly — Democrat
Rhoda Jacobs, 69 percent
Michele Adolphe, 31 percent
42nd District, Flatbush and Midwood
There was no anti-incumbent fever evident in Flatbush.
Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs easily beat back a challenge from Michele Adolphe, who had run for the seat three times previously.
Was her victory a mandate? “My mandate is to do what I’m supposed to do — keep working,” Jacobs remarked. “Even in the street today, people came up to tell me ‘I have this issue,’ ‘I have that issue,’ but, basically, it was a lot of ‘Thank you for helping,’ ‘Thank you for helping.’ I have a strong feeling that government is not just for the rich and powerful. We have to be there for those who are not powerful.”
Adolphe had decried Jacobs for double-dipping by simultaneously collecting her Assembly salary and her retirement pension from the same office. But that issue clearly failed to resonate with voters. In the end, Adolphe said that Jacobs’s victory “wasn’t really an election by the voters. It was a selection by a few people.
“We ran a beautiful campaign,” she went on. “I believe the voters out there are proud of me. It’s not over for Michele. I will continue to do the work of the people and continue to put my strength out there for the people of the district.”
• • •
Inez Barron, 79 percent
Kenneth Evans, 21 percent
40th District, Canarsie and East New York
Barron is new to Albany, and the only time an incumbent ever gets beaten is in his or her first re-election. She was elected after predecessor Diane Gordon was found guilty of taking bribes, so voters may have merely concluded that anything better than that was all right.
She’s also married to popular Councilman Charles Barron, so that helps, too.
Congress — Democrat
Ed Towns, 66 percent
Kevin Powell, 33 percent
10th District, Canarsie, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Downtown
Towns easily defeated his rival, Kevin Powell, who has constantly talked about a youthquake in the district, even as he has never generated traction among voters.
Towns, who has been in Congress for almost three decades, thinks he knows why.
“I see my victory as a vindication, and that the voters want me to go back to Washington and work hard on health care to strengthen it,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working very hard.”
Towns is currently the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Powell, the former “Real World” star turned author and public speaker, ran into trouble during the campaign when it was revealed that he owes more than $600,000 in back taxes.
“He may have won tonight, but he did not win the hearts of Brooklyn people,” Powell claimed, vowing to return to challenge Towns in 2012.