Musical chairs with Harris seat • Brooklyn Paper

Musical chairs with Harris seat

The drama continues.

Rumors are still gaining steam that state Sen. Marty Golden’s (R–Bay Ridge) challenger, Andrew Gounardes, might run for what would become a vacant seat if disgraced Assemblywoman Pamela Harris (D–Coney Island) steps down from her post, despite him repeatedly denying that he plans to switch ballots.

“Andrew’s considering — that’s a fact,” said Gounardes’ Democratic competitor to replace Golden, Bay Ridge journalist Ross Barkan.

It would be harder for Gounardes to oust Golden, the incumbent since 2003 — whom he also ran against and lost to in 2012 — than it would be for him to fill Harris’s shoes.

But other rumors suggest Gounardes is being persuaded to stay in his fight to unseat Golden because his fellow Bay Ridge Democrats club member and newly elected Councilman Justin Brannan (D–Bay Ridge) wants to reserve Harris’s seat for his chief of staff Chris McCreight, who once ran for the district’s unpaid position of District Leader against Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island).

Other potential candidates eyeing Harris’s seat after the feds charged her with stealing storm recovery money include Republican Lucretia Regina-Potter and Coney Island-based professor Mathylde Frontus, according to Kings County Politics.

But some of the discussions will ultimately take place behind closed doors between two rival political clubs — Treyger’s United Progressive Democratic Club and Brannan’s Bay Ridge Democrats.

It makes sense McCreight is eyeing the seat, and the two clubs have a history of animosity that dates back years, said Barkan.

“It’s their district, they have a say. It’s a lot of internal dynamics. They’ve been at odds in the past,” he said. “Chris has been a candidate for district leader, it would make sense he’s interested in this too. I’m sure he’s looking based on what I’ve read and the fact he’s run for office before.”

Gounardes is still putting the kibosh on the rumors and insists that no one is trying to change his mind.

“Nothing has changed in my plans whatsoever — still 100-percent focused on running for the state Senate,” he said. “No one has asked me to now switch a race, I’ve been very clear to everyone.”

• • •

It’s dueling polls and pols.

A convicted felon running again to take back his old seat from Rep. Dan Donovan (R–Bay Ridge) put out a poll that shows him in the lead of the race — but the incumbent is calling his bluff and claims it’s just a big joke.

The one-time Rock-to-Ridge representative’s poll, conducted by consulting firm Big Dog Strategies, shows that 35.2 percent of voters questioned by phone in early March would cast their ballots for him in the June Republican primary, while just 34.1 percent would for Donovan.

But the disgraced congressman — who once threatened to “break” a reporter “in half” and served seven months in prison for tax fraud — is still a hero among some Brooklynites, who started calling on him to run again in 2016 just weeks after his release from jail.

The former Marine, federal investigator, and tax-dodger has been campaigning under the same slogan as President Trump, but Donovan criticized him for his more left-leaning voting record and affiliation with former President Obama.

“Grimm’s poll is as laughable as his attempts to bury his liberal voting record as one of the most reliable votes for Obama,” said Donovan’s spokeswoman Jessica Proud. “He is an established liar and cheat, and this desperate poll full of absurdities shows he hasn’t changed one bit.”

Donovan’s own poll, conducted by marketing research consultant and pollster Barry Zeplowitz and Associates, shows the incumbent handidly taking the lead, with 60 percent of locals saying they would vote for him, and just 21 percent saying they would for his challenger.

Whoever wins the Republican primary in June will face the winner of September’s six-candidate Democratic primary.

• • •

They may be coming back to Brooklyn

New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray is considering throwing her hat in the ring to run for office after her husband finishes his second mayoral term — and that could take her and Hizzoner back to Brooklyn.

Before she and Mayor DeBlasio moved into Gracie Mansion on the distant isle of Manhattan, the 6-foot-5 pol was once a local Park Slope Councilman and the political power couple lived in the neighborhood.

McCray hasn’t said what seat she’d run for — whether a local Brooklyn seat or city-wide — just that she’s eyeing the possibility in 2021.

“Although I am not actively planning to run for office right now, I do not rule out the possibility of running in the future,” said the First Lady in a statement. “As a staunch advocate for better representation in our elected officials, I encourage women to run for office all the time. And how can I encourage others if I don’t seriously consider running myself?”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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