The battle lines are drawn.
Andrew Gounardes beat out Ross Barkan by a 14-point margin in the 22nd Senate district’s Sept. 13 primary for the Democratic nomination to take on incumbent state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) in the November 6 general election. The county-backed candidate — who had the support of borough Democratic party boss Frank Seddio and other local party leaders — acknowledged in a statement the night of his win that it would not be easy to topple the eight-term Republican, but added that his campaign had garnered enough grassroots support to stand a decent chance of flipping the seat.
“This is the first big step toward turning this district blue and taking back the state Senate,” Gounardes said. “We understand that we have an uphill climb to victory in November, but we look forward to the road ahead. Our grassroots campaign is the strongest and broadest ever assembled to defeat Marty Golden, and we’re growing every day.”
Data from the State Board of Elections show that after all ballots were counted, Gounardes received 8,572 votes to Barkan’s 6,235 in the district that encompasses Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Gravesend, and parts of Sheepshead Bay, Borough Park, and Midwood. On primary night, Gounardes congratulated Barkan on a “hard fought campaign” and promised to “continue the fight for the fundamental ideals that we both share.”
When the candidates debated last month, their responses mostly highlighted their similarities: both affirmed their support for public financing of state elections, expanding the citywide speed camera program, passing the New York Healthcare Act to provide universal healthcare, banning federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from state courthouses, and increasing senior housing in the district. But Gounardes touted his years of governmental experience over Barkan — a former journalist — as proof of his preparedness to govern, highlighting his current post as Counsel to Borough President Adams and his previous experience working for former Bay Ridge Councilman Vincent Gentile.
“Our campaign didn’t just start on Nov. 20, when I announced that I was running,” Gounardes said. “The campaign to improve our communities has been going on for years.”
Gounardes first faced off against Golden in 2012, losing by about 10,000 votes. On November’s ballot, he’ll also have the Reform and Working Families party lines.
The district skews steeply Democratic in terms of voter registration, according to the most recent data from the State Board of Elections — which shows that there are 83,244 registered Democrats and 35,786 registered Republicans — despite sending the borough’s sole Republican state senator to Albany eight times in a row.