Monique Chandler-Waterman wins Dem nomination for Flatbush Assembly seat

Supporters surround Monique Chandler-Waterman at the launch of her campaign earlier this year.
Jack Desa

Monique Chandler-Waterman won the Democratic nomination on Thursday for the special election in Assembly District 58, encompassing parts of East Flatbush, Canarsie, and Brownsville, aiming to secure the seat in the May 24 contest just weeks before the previously-scheduled June primary.

Chandler-Waterman, the director of ground support at the city’s Test and Trace Corps, and a previous candidate for City Council in 2019, won a unanimous vote of the district’s County Committee members to be selected as the nominee, she told Brooklyn Paper.

“I’m feeling great, I’m humbly honored that the community supported me. I’m not surprised in that I work with the community, I’ve worked with the community for decades, I’ve lived in the community my whole life,” Chandler-Waterman said by phone Thursday. “It was an organic earn of support, so I’m really excited that we were able to do the process today and I came out victorious.”

Chandler-Waterman formally entered the race last month to replace longtime Assemblymember Nick Perry, who left his seat to assume his new post as Ambassador to his native Jamaica. Chandler-Waterman, a longtime community activist who founded East Flatbush Village with her husband Eric Waterman, has the support of much of the area’s political class, including Perry, City Councilmember Mercedes Narcisse, Assemblymember Jaime Williams, and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, along with the Working Families Party.

The special election is essentially a lock for Chandler-Waterman after winning the Democratic nomination; the special in the 58th district is likely to be even less competitive than this year’s two previous Assembly elections in Brooklyn, in the 60th and 43rd Districts, where the WFP nominated an unsuccessful Democratic challenger to run against the pick of the county party.

Chandler-Waterman faced opposition from charter school administrator Otis Danne Jr. She is also facing competition in the Democratic primary from Hercules Reid, an aide to Mayor Eric Adams. The timing of Perry’s resignation triggered a call for a special election despite being only a month out from the primary; if Perry had resigned just days after he did, the seat would be left vacant until after the November general election, City & State reported.

The meeting was conducted with little fanfare; about two dozen County Committee members showed up, Chandler-Waterman said. The party also did not publicly announce the meeting ahead of time on social media, nor was it livestreamed on Facebook as previous meetings were. Even candidates were out of the loop: Danne said on Twitter that neither he nor his campaign was notified of the meeting.

A spokesperson for the Brooklyn Democratic Party did not respond to a request for comment.

Chandler-Waterman says that she hopes to use her official platform to push for solutions to gun violence in her district, which recently took the life of 12-year-old Kade Lewin, after years of working as an advocate to reduce violence. For now, though, she plans to knock on doors and mobilize her volunteers ahead of election day, and then primary day shortly thereafter.

“Next is getting back on the ground, and speaking with community members and constituents,” she said. “That doesn’t stop.”

Correction (1:09 pm 4/15/22): This article has been updated to note that the meeting was previously announced on the Brooklyn Democrats’ website, and that Hercules Reid is running in the Democratic primary but not the special election.