Clarke challenger racks up progressive endorsements

Adem by Brayden Olson
Bundedekko is hoping the second time is the charm as he attempts to topple the 13-year incumbent.
Photo by Brayden Olson

A Crown Heights activist attempting to unseat Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D—Flatbush) nabbed the endorsement of a West Coast training academy for upstart progressive candidates. 

Arena, a silicon-valley based group that recruits and supports progressive candidates is throwing its weight behind Adem Bunkeddeko the Brooklyn Paper has learned. Bunkeddeko, an activist and former Community Board 8 member, tried and failed to unseat the 13-year incumbent in 2018, before giving it another go for the next election cycle. 

“Brooklyn’s Ninth district deserves a fighter who will battle the chronic injustices plaguing Brooklyn: lack of affordable housing, inequitable education, and anti-semitic violence,” said Ravi Gupta, Co-Founder of Arena. 

Since its foundation after the 2016 presidential election with the intention of recruiting and supporting progressive candidates, Arena has since set its sights on New York City and state politics, endorsing a slew of progressive democratic candidates who went on to unseat incumbents, including Bronx State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, Senator Zellnor Myrie, and Queens Senator Jessica Ramos. In the most recent federal election, Arena endorsed Max Rose in his triumphant battle to unseat incumbent Republican Dan Donovan on Staten Island and in South Brooklyn. 

Arena’s endorsement was not enough to push Bunkeddeko over the line in 2018 though — he fell short of besting Clarke by a mere 1,075 votes in a tight primary race.

In addition to Arena, Bunkeddeko received an endorsement from Zephyr Teachout this week, the progressive attorney who has vied unsuccessfully for both the governor’s office and the attorney general’s office — but carries considerable progressive clout. 

Bunkeddeko, a Crown Heights resident and son of Ugandan refugees has made affordable housing the central focus of his campaign and his past advocacy.