The Bay Ridge district leader war was waged on a new front this week as 18-year incumbent Ralph Perfetto threatened to knock his insurgent challenger off the ballot if the newcomer makes good on his threat to run a slate of opposition candidates for the lowest-level party positions.
Perfetto and district leader challenger Kevin Peter Carroll had said that they would not challenge each other’s nominating petitions — but Perfetto admitted that he’ll break that vow if Carroll persists in lining up candidates to run for county committee slots.
“If he doesn’t run anybody, I don’t care if he has 500 signatures [on his petitions] from Cut and Shoot, Texas, I won’t challenge them,” said Perfetto. “But if he runs people against my county committee people, all bets are off.”
Members of the county committee occupy the lowest level of city politics. Unlike district leaders, who are also known as state committeemen and represent whole assembly districts, each county committeeman represents a single election district, often just one or two square blocks.
County committeemen do party work such as selecting a county leader and nominate candidates to run when there’s a vacancy.
Carroll said that not only does he have every right to run candidates for the unpaid posts, but he has to!
“Running a slate is what a district leader does,” he said. “If Ralph expects me to roll over and play dead, he’s sorely mistaken.”
Carroll asserted that roughly 30 percent of the current county committee is vacant — and that’s the fault of the current leadership.
“Maybe if Ralph had been a better district leader, we wouldn’t have so many vacancies,” said Carroll, who vowed to challenge Perfetto’s place on the district leader ballot if Perfetto challenges his nominating petitions.
“It’s OK for him to run county committeepeople, but not me?” queried Carroll. “That’s typical of the county Democratic machine that he’s a part of. What’s he afraid of? The people, I guess.
Perfetto, of course, disagreed.
“It’s not just a race against me any more,” he said. “It’s an assault on decent county people.”