Convicted felon to run for Rock-Ridge seat

A disgraced former Rock-to-Ridge Congressman will throw his hat into the ring to take back his old seat next month, NY1 reports.

The convicted felon — who spent seven months behind bars for tax fraud, and was well known for threatening to break a reporter in half— had apparently been mulling a run to replace Rep. Dan Donovan (R–Bay Ridge) for a while after some former constituents made it clear they wanted him back in office. And now, he’s expected to hold a rally to make some noise for his campaign in Staten Island on Oct. 1.

But Donovan — who also faces a handful of Democratic challengers — isn’t worried about his predecessor’s run, said his spokeswoman.

“We’re not really concerned about a challenge from a felon who was one of the most liberal members of Congress,” said Jessica Proud. “Voters won’t be duped by him again.”

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Republican mayoral candidate Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R–Bay Ridge) will face a Democratic challenger for her seat up in Albany if she doesn’t succeed in ousting Mayor DeBlasio in November.

Bay Ridgite Adam Baumel registered his campaign committee with the State Board of Elections, though he has not yet raised any money.

Baumel, a 29-year-old Navy veteran, had previously worked for Bay Ridge Council candidate Justin Brannan’s campaign, and interned for Assemblyman Michael Benedetto (D–Bronx). He said it was working up in Albany during the scandals involving former Assemblymen Dean Skelos (D–Long Island) and Sheldon Silver (D–Manhattan) that pushed his buttons to make him want to jump into politics.

“Seeing the corruption in the house was horrifying. It became evident that there is much work that is needed in order to clean up the Assembly,” said Baumel. “Citizens deserve representatives who look out for their best interests. I am running with the intention to increase transparency and accountability.”

Malliotakis’s campaign would not comment if she still plans to seek re-election for her seat if she doesn’t succeed in ousting incumbent DeBlasio, but said “that’s nice,” when asked about her likely Democratic challenger.

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More than a dozen Brooklyn Democrats blasted Kings County Democratic Party’s chairman at the group’s fifth-annual post-primary breakfast at Junior’s Restaurant Downtown on Sept. 18, after he negotiated what they called a back-room deal to support one candidate to succeed a Brooklyn Heights state senator, instead of allowing members to vote on a nominee.

Members of New Kings Democrats and other self-proclaimed “progressive” clubs say party boss Frank Seddio alone decided who would replace Daniel Squadron in the state Senate when he didn’t allow Brooklyn committee members a say and put all his weight behind machine favorite Brian Kavanagh (D–Manhattan).

Squadron resigned from Albany’s upper house in August after an important petition-filing deadline for would-be candidates, eliminating the ability for the Brooklyn and Manhattan residents in his district to elect a successor. Naming the next legislator instead fell to both boroughs’ county committees and, due to complicated and arcane election laws, the decision basically rested with Seddio and Manhattan Chairman Keith Wright.

About 100 Manhattan committee members voted overwhelmingly to back Paul Newell — a district leader from Manhattan who is considered a reformer among progressive groups in both boroughs — over Kavanagh.

Wright in turn split his vote, instead of consolidating it behind one candidate, and Seddio didn’t give his committee’s members a say, casting all of Brooklyn’s votes for Kavanagh.

The autonomous move does no favors to the voters, and especially not to the very few women who align with True Blues in Albany’s upper house, said Cobble Hill resident Eileen Naples, who was a candidate for the seat as well.

“The reason I got into the race was because I thought more than just two people should be picking the candidate. I had some support from county committee in Brooklyn, but they didn’t ultimately get to vote — they should have had some voice instead of no voice at all,” said Naples, a former domestic violence prosecutor with the Kings County District Attorney’s office. “I’m disappointed in the result, I’m not surprised a lot of seats are getting replaced this way. There’s only five women caucusing with Democrats in the state senate, that’s abysmal especially for a state like New York.”

Endorsement round-up

South Brooklyn’s Russian community is throwing its support behind Yoni Hikind — Assembylman Dov Hikind’s (D–Midwood) son — for the open Midwood Council seat, after Councilman David Greenfield stepped down from his post and handpicked his ally Kalman Yeger to replace him.

Russian-language media mogul Gregory Davidzon, along with Brighton Beach district leaders Ari Kagan and Margarita Kagan, endorsed Hikind on the independent “Our Neighborhood” line for the November general election.

But Yeger has also received his fair share of endorsements, including from Greenfield, Councilman Mark Levine (D–Manhattan), Assemblyman Peter Abbate (D–Bensonhurst), and the hefty law enforcement union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

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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