Carroll king! Young politico feels like a natural winner for Kensington Assembly seat

New kid on the block: Robert Carroll celebrates his primary win at Johnny Mack’s bar in Park Slope.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

He’s going to Albany — but he’s not driving!

Windsor Terrace lawyer Robert “Bobby” Carroll won the Democratic primary for the 44th Assembly District seat on Sept. 13, beating public-school teacher Robert Curry-Smithson and community organizer Troy Odendhal with a landslide 5,293 votes to their 313 and 271 respective tallies (in unofficial, election-night results), as the successor to outgoing Assemblyman Jim Brennan.

In the deep blue seat — which covers Kensington and Windsor Terrace, and parts of Park Slope, Borough Park, Flatbush, and Ditmas Park — the result all but guarantee Carroll a ticket straight to the Assembly, which is just as well, because the 29-year-old says he still doesn’t have a driver’s license.

“I’m going to learn how to drive,” he said after his victory. “I’m going to take the train a lot of the time.”

Carroll comes from a long line of local politicos. He previously served as president of the influential Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats club, which his grandfather co-founded. His dad John Carroll — also a former president of the club and his son’s boss at Manhattan law firm Wolfson and Carroll — ran unsuccessfully against now-Mayor DeBlasio in the Democratic primary for the local Council seat in 2001, and Bay Ridge Democratic District Leader Kevin Peter Carroll is a cousin.

The Community Board 7 and Park Slope Civic Council member had been preparing to challenge long-time local male Democratic District Leader Jacob Gold for his low-level post until Brenann announced his retirement at the end of May, and quickly anointed Carroll as his heir apparent, followed by a swath of endorsements from other elected officials including influential local Councilman Brad Lander (D–Kensington), nine political organizations, and 16 unions.

The seamless passing of the torch raised some eyebrows, not least of all Curry-Smithson’s, who believes the race was over before it even began.

“Brennan retired after more than 30 years in office and, in the same breath as retiring, he endorsed Carroll, who managed to wrap up any endorsement of anyone in politics before there was even a race,” said the Kensington resident after the results came in.

But Carroll maintains that his formidable victory was built on his name recognition as a life-long local resident, the many hours he put in shaking hands and knocking on doors on the campaign train, as well as his policy of cleaning up Albany — and pointed out that he received endorsements from influential voices outside the party, including the New York Times and good-government watchdog Citizens Union.

“I don’t believe there was any fait accompli,” he said. “Whole hosts of third-party actors looked at all the candidates and made a decision and I think that decision was clear.”

And even Curry-Smithson says he will back Carroll in his battle against Tea Party Republican Glenn Nocera come November.

“I’ll be voting for him in November and hope he’ll be a good representative for us,” said the runner-up.

Of 41,440 registered Democrats in the district, only 6,463 cast a ballot in the race.

In other area races…

Williamsburg housing activist Debbie Medina failed in her second attempt to unseat 13-year incumbent state Sen. Martin Malave Dilan (D–Bushwick) from his 18th Senate District seat — which covers Bushwick, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint — earning 3,843 votes to his 5,593 with 99 percent of sites reporting. Still, it is not far off the 4,061 Medina nabbed in the 2014 primary, despite her campaign being overshadowed by headlines relating to her son murdering a toddler in 2008, and losing the influential Working Families Party endorsement she had in the last election.

Longtime state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery retained her hold on the 25th Senate District — which includes Fort Greene, Boerum Hill, Red Hook, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Sunset Park, Gowanus, and Park Slope — fending off a challenge from upstart former teacher and Obama administration staffer Michael Cox, who nevertheless secured a respectable 4,471 votes to the 32-year incumbent’s 10,006.

In one of the more hotly contested Brooklyn state races of the night, Community Board 3 chair and Bedford–Stuyvesant businesswoman Tremaine Wright bested community housing activist and Assemblyman Erik Dilan (D–Bushwick) staffer Karen Cherry for outgoing Assemblywoman Annette Robinson’s 56th Assembly District seat — encompassing Bedford-Stuyvesant and part of Crown Heights — with 3,679 votes to Cherry’s 2,577.

Newly anointed Coney Island Assemblywoman Pam Harris successfully defended the 46th Assembly District seat she won in a special election after Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny stepped down last year, edging out Bay Ridge community leader and former Brook-Krasny staffer Kate Cucco with 3,091 votes to Cucco’s 1,740 in a campaign that was rife with mud-slinging on both sides.

Veteran Greenpoint female District Leader Linda Minucci narrowly held onto her post in a close contest with local activist Emily Gallagher — a member of Antonio Reynoso (D–Bushwick)’s reformist New Kings Democrats club — scoring 1,799 to her rival’s 1,454 with 99 percent of precincts reporting. Minucci has held the position for 32 years, but Gallagher’s supporters accused the incumbent of being largely missing in action from local events and meetings in recent years — a perception Minucci probably didn’t help by reportedly telling the Gallagher-aligned Greenpoint Star that those who do show up to such events are just “self-gratifying” and nurturing “a future political agenda.”

Clinton Hill female District Leader Olanike Alabi handily held off challenges from former Borough President Marty Markowitz staffer Renee Collymore — who held the seat between 2012 and 2014 — and Brooklyn Young Dems president Veronica Aveis, earning 3,184 votes to her rivals’ 2,259 and 660 respective scores, with 99 percent of sites reporting.

And in a nail-biting race for Kings County Civil Court judge, Fort Hamilton High School alum and attorney Odessa Kennedy is beating Brooklyn Law School grad and state Supreme Court clerk Connie Melendez 34,361 to 31,807 with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

Looking for Southern Brooklyn results? Our pals at BrooklynDaily.com have the scoop.

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