May 10, 2018 / Brooklyn news / Party Line

Field shapes up for Harris seat battle

Brooklyn Daily
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Two competing candidates threw their hats into the ring to fill the now-empty Bay Ridge-to-Coney Island seat vacated by disgraced former Assemblywoman Pamela Harris (D–Coney Island), whom the feds charged in January with stealing from the city and storm-recovery agencies.

Democrat Ethan Lustig-Elgrably and Republican Steve Saperstein announced their campaigns this week, both with a handful of support touting their involvement in the community and desire to help the district’s students and seniors.

“From Bay Ridge to Coney Island, Southern Brooklyn needs a strong leader in Albany to get our fair share. I grew up here, and I know the challenges our families face,” said Lustig-Elgrably. “We need good schools, safe streets, support for our seniors, and better trains and buses. I’ve worked in public service, I fought for this community, and I’m going to make sure every one of us is honestly represented in Albany.”

But the district could swing to the right this time, since part of its turf, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods, already have more Grand Old Party representation than anywhere else in otherwise left-leaning Kings County — Bay Ridge Republicans Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, state Sen. Marty Golden, and Rep. Dan Donovan all represent parts of the area or neighboring districts.

Harris won her gig in Albany during a special election in 2015 after the former pol Alec Brook-Krasny stepped down to take a job in the private sector. But he too later fell from grace when the feds slapped him with charges last spring for his alleged role in an illegal scheme to pump millions of narcotic painkillers onto the black market.

And after the last two Democratic pols left the seat in shambles, it’s time for a new party to take the helm and represent the community, said Saperstein, who ran and lost to incumbent Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay) last November.

“When the news broke about Pamela Harris, it was tough to process,” he said. “The district, our neighbors, deserve better.”

Lustig-Elgrably, who had remained silent about his possible run despite growing rumors he was vying for the post, announced his candidacy this week with the support of his former boss, Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island), who had also been mum about whether he’d back his one-time chief of staff, who now works for the Parks Department.

“He’s smart, inclusive, effective, and knows how to get things done in government,” said Treyger at the announcement. “Most importantly, he knows Southern Brooklyn and the hardworking families of this district. I have complete trust in him to be the leader we need in Albany.”

Coney Island Democrat Mathylde Frontus announced her candidacy last month.

• • •

A handful of Brooklynites are vying to become New York’s next top prosecutor after Attorney General Eric Schneiderman abruptly resigned in disgrace on May 7 following a disturbing report about four women who accused him of sexual and physical abuse over a period of years.

Public Advocate Tish James, a lawyer who also previously represented Fort Greene before her successor Democratic Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, is reportedly interested in the seat, along with attorneys Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (D–Sheepshead Bay), Assemblyman Joseph Lentol (D–Williamsbu­rg), who was an assistant district attorney in the Kings County District Attorney’s office prior to being elected in 1972, and Brooklyn’s former top prosecutor, Elizabeth Holtzman, who ran the office from 1982 to 1989, according to multiple reports.

Schneiderman’s number two, Solicitor General Barbara Underwood, was sworn in as acting Attorney General on Tuesday, but Albany’s pols could appoint his successor with a majority vote in both the Assembly and Senate.

But that candidate would still have to win the September primary and November general election to retain the post.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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