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Capano takes one last swipe at party leaders

Third-place Bay Ridge Council candidate Bob Capano signed off from the long and tumultuous campaign season by congratulating the neighborhood’s new representative Justin Brannan in a statement on Nov. 8 — but not before taking one last jab at his Republican primary competitor John Quaglione and the Brooklyn Conservative Party for playing a game of what many considered to be back-room politics.

Capano, who ran on the Reform Party line in the general election and raked in just over one percent of the votes, told Brooklyn Conservative Party Chairman Jerry Kassar to take a hike when he asked Capano to relinquish his spot on the third party line and give it up for Quaglione. The sketchy deal — which Quaglione admitted to but Kassar denied — apparently did no favors to the Grand Old Party, Capano said in his statement.

“I kept my word to the Reform Party and ran on their line to highlight the need to end political corruption and the power of the party establishment,” he said. “We saw it first-hand in this race with the ‘place-holder’ deal for Mr. Quaglione, where Brooklyn Conservative Party Chairman Jerry Kassar looked very silly publicly denying it. This could not have helped his candidate.”

Quaglione — who got 11,621 votes to Brannan’s 12,516 with nearly 99 percent of the ballots counted, according to unofficial results — did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and his campaign had yet to put out a concession statement as of Wednesday afternoon.

And as for the alleged placeholder candidate John Bruno, who gave up his spots on the Conservative and Independence Party lines for Quaglione to instead run for a judgeship on New York State’s Supreme Court, will not be getting a seat on the bench anytime soon. He came in last by an extremely wide margin, with just 51,279 votes to Democrats Andrew Borrok’s 200,261 and Bruce Balter’s 270,552 — both of whom will get seats on the bench.

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The president of the self-described progressive political club New Kings Democrats is stepping down to take a job with Mayor DeBlasio.

Anusha Venkataraman, who held the job for two years, relinquished her office in the club on Nov. 5. Her new role in City Hall required her to give up the hot seat in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest, said the communications director for the New Kings Democrats.

“It’s a distinction the city makes based on policy title and what sort of work the person is doing. If it’s a manager position or if it has significant policy discretion, they don’t want anyone doing anything political — asking someone for money or pressuring someone to vote in a certain way if they could be making policy decisions,” said Ryan Shanley. “We value the idea of avoiding conflicts of interest.”

Venkataraman is proud of her run over the last two years, specifically passing significant reforms in the Brooklyn Democratic Party, growing the club, and increasing campaign efforts for City Council candidates, she said in an e-mail to members on Nov. 2.

New Kings Democrats chief of operations Sara Shoener will take the helm as interim president until elections in January, and Venkataraman said she will continue to be actively involved in a non-leadership role.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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