The young guns are coming in to try and devour the “bad apples” rotting in Albany, and for one man, Bay Ridge’s longtime Republican state Sen. Marty Golden is the sourest of them all.
Democrat Mike DiSanto, 29, announced that he’ll challenge Golden this year — a race that would make him the youngest senator in a legislature not noted for turnover.
DiSanto is not only battling his own youth, but a veteran GOP lawmaker with strong support from both parties and a historically enormous campaign war chest — not to mention he represents one of Brooklyn’s most reliably Republican areas.
“I don’t think youth is a hurdle,” said DiSanto, who is still in a New York University graduate program for marketing. “I can bring new ideas and creativity to a government where senators with years of experience can’t get anything done. I’m fed up with the corruption and lack of transparency. Albany is stifled by bad apples.”
The Gravesend native says he’ll lead the district — which includes his neighborhood plus Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Sheepshead Bay — in a fight for affordable housing, heavily funded education and more jobs. He started his attack in a time when the “bad apples” reference is being thrown around frequently — political elites have even been hailing New York’s legislature as the worst in the country.
Golden may have heard of DiSanto, but he doesn’t seem to care about him.
“[He’s] right now focused on his work in his district and in the state capitol,” said the four-term senator’s spokesman, John Quaglione.
Albany lawmakers lose their seats about as often as the Jets go to the Super Bowl. But it’s not impossible to take down a titan, as 30-year-old state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights) proved last year when he defeated 30-year incumbent Sen. Marty Connor.
In any case, a newbie like DiSanto will need endorsements and cash. The youngster says he has enough “support and money” to run, and for the moment has been encouraging potential constituents to make donations to Haiti rather than his campaign (smooth move for a rookie).
In the short term, he hopes to pick the brain of Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), a longtime Golden rival, who hasn’t announced whom he’ll back.
“It’s realistic to expect that [Gentile] will endorse the candidate who will represent his district best, regardless of age or party affiliation,” said Gentile’s spokesperson, Dena Libner.
In the long term, he plans to fix some local problems he says Golden has ignored. After eight years in office, Golden has presided over a fiscally unsound transit system and is “losing his connection to the middle class,” the challenger said.
DiSanto also would reverse Golden’s stance against same-sex marriage, which he says is out of step with an increasingly liberal neighborhood.
DiSanto said he expects hard days ahead of him with his lack of experience, but hopes that his deep roots in the district and fresh ideas will be enough drive the incumbent out.
“I honestly care about people and my community and have been trained to work on corporate strategy,” he said. “I know that I have the skills to represent the interests of my district successfully.”