GOP friendly former Senator planning a comeback

20th state Senate District (Park Slope and Sunset Park)
Jesse Hamilton
File Photo by Jason Speakman

Former State Senator Jesse Hamilton will mount a political comeback after voters fired him for caucusing with Republicans, according to the central Brooklyn politician he hopes to replace. 

“Word on the street is that Jesse Shamilton is running against me for my Assembly seat!” Assemblywoman Diana C. Richardson wrote in a Facebook post last week. “We must let him and anyone who backs him know that we are not playing!”

A petition to get Hamilton on the upcoming ballot for the assembly district spanning Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens and East Flatbush started circulating on Wednesday.

Voters gave the former Democratic state senator representing Crown Heights, Flatbush, and Brownsville the boot in 2018, replacing him with lawyer  Zellnor Myrie after the former legislator went rogue and caucused with Republicans as a member of the Independent Democratic Conference. 

Myrie, now in his second year, blasted his predecessor’s record and voiced his full support for Richardson.

“Assembly member Richardson has fought for this community when it’s been hard and unpopular, she rejected real estate money before it became cool, fought against unscrupulous landlords when the laws were in their favor, and called out fake Democrats when others were silent,” Myrie said. “We’ll let the community decide whether it’s mere coincidence that evictions are down, affordable housing is up, and integrity is back immediately after my predecessor left office.” 

State Senator Zellnor Myrie and Assemblywoman Diana C. RichardsonPhoto by Trey Pentecost

Hamilton pushed progressive policies during his time caucusing with Republicans, such as a bill that aimed to crack down on discriminatory 911 calls after a white woman called the cops on him while he campaigned in 2018. 

But the one-time state pol stayed mum when challenged on his decision to align himself with the Grand Old Party — leaving constituents who voted for a Democrat to brand him a traitor. 

“Jesse should run as a Republican because that’s what he wanted to be in the state Senate,” said Seth Kaplan, a longtime community organizer in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. “We need elected officials who will fight the Republicans with every ounce of their soul, every ounce of their being, and that’s not Jesse.” 

Kings County Democratic Party boss Rodneyse Bichotte said in a statement that the party would not be supporting Hamilton in his challenge. 

“The Brooklyn Democratic Party did not encourage and is not involved in the challenge to the incumbent Assembly Member in the 43rd District,” Bichotte said. “My general position is that we do not challenge incumbent democrats unless there are extraordinary circumstances, which do not exist in this case.” 

Reached by phone, Hamilton deflected questions to his spokesman, who did not provide any additional comment.