Landslide! Liberal clubhouse pol swept aside in centrist uprising

Meet the new boss: Ira Cure (left) defeated Kenn Lowy by a landslide to become the new president of the Independent Neighborhood Democrats club. Lowy was tossed aside in a backlash over his decision to take a leave of absence rather than work to elect the club’s endorsed candidate, the right-of-center John Heyer.
The Brooklyn Paper / Stephen Brown

Brooklyn’s best-known political club voted its president out of office in a landslide on Thursday night in an effort to move on from the internal strife that plagued it in the past year.

The Independent Neighborhood Democrats chose former a club president, Ira Cure — who by his own admission had not been involved for the last five years — over incumbent Kenn Lowy by a 68-13 vote.

If you’re counting at home, that’s 84 percent for Cure — a Brezhnev-style victory.

Cure sought to portray himself as a candidate who could better handle issues within the club, which has struggled with conflict between its moderate and progressive factions.

That conflict flashed into the public arena last year during a bitter, intranecine split within the club over which candidate the club would endorse for City Council.

Right-of-center, pro-life, anti-gay marriage candidate John Heyer, a longtime member of the club, won the endorsement — though he ended up getting slammed by far more liberal Brad Lander in the more-important election.

In the midst of the controversy, Lowy took a leave of absence as president rather than work to elect the club’s pick, Heyer.

He said he made the decision in hopes of avoiding splitting the club. He didn’t split the club — he motivated it.

“Basically, the people that supported Heyer want me out,” said Lowy before Thursday’s vote.

Some members said that the issue was not over last year’s kerfuffle, but more about Lowy’s leadership as the club struggles to maintain its relevancy in an age of declining clubhouse power.

“A small faction would like to make it about Heyer,” said Mark Shames, the chair of the executive board of the club. “But a lot of people had a lot of problems with Kenn over the last year.

“Cure has no affiliation with any particular faction in the club and is unencumbered by the passions of the moment. … He’s the ideal unity candidate.”

Cure, the landslide victor, agreed.

“I’m a labor lawyer — a professional mediator,” he said. “There are problems with [internal] procedures that I can overcome.”

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