In addition to helping send Sen. Barack Obama to the White House, voters in Brooklyn gave Democrats a clean sweep of all of the key local races. Here’s a roundup of all the action:
13th Congressional District (Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights & Staten Island)
McMahon beat former Assemblyman Bob Straniere in the bizarre race to succeed scandal-tarred Rep. Vito Fossella, who did not run for re-election after a drunk-driving arrest and subsequent admission that he had fathered a secret daughter with his lover.
The victory ended 28 years of GOP control of the district — and made New York’s congressional delegation completely blue.
“I’m elated,” McMahon said after getting the results in the Stars and Stripes Democratic Club on 15th Avenue in Bensonhurst. “And as they said in the movie ‘Casablanca,’ this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.”
McMahon had not entered the race until Fossella’s public implosion, but quickly amassed the support of local and national Democrats, and a substantial warchest. He easily beat Steve Harrison, a Bay Ridge lawyer, in the September primary.
In the general election, Straniere was severely outspent and ran almost as a pariah from the local GOP. Party leaders, remembering past feuds with Straniere, offered almost no support for his candidacy and, in fact, endorsed others, including McMahon.
He said the fault did not lie with himself or his party, but with the stars.
“The tides were against us,” he said. “Due to events largely out of our control — including the severe downturn in the global economy and the declining support of the McCain-Palin ticket — things did not go as we had hoped.”
Assembly District 60 (Bay Ridge & Staten Island)
Democratic Assemblywoman Janele Hyer-Spencer’s victory was definitely a bi-borough triumph over her Republican rival Joe Cammarata. The former Illinois beauty queen and one-term incumbent landed the majority of votes on both sides of the Narrows — a feat that escaped her two years ago.
“Being available and accessible has been very important,” she said. “Committing to putting an office in Bay Ridge was a big promise, and I think Bay Ridge residents are happy that I delivered on it.”
Hyer-Spencer — who partied with the Brooklyn Democrats for Change at the Knights of Columbus on Fifth Avenue before celebrating her win in Staten Island — had a somber message for her constituents.
“I want to hold our community steady,” said Hyer-Spencer, who promised to protect health care and education programs despite pending budget cuts. “We are going to be facing some incredibly difficult financial times. My job is going to be to make sure that Bay Ridge doesn’t suffer — and Staten Island as well.”
Cammarata — a former cop and current schoolteacher — said that his party affiliation had more to do with his loss than the issues.
“I guess we got wrapped up in the Obama fever,” Cammarata said. “I think that we lost it — she didn’t win it.”
Cammarata plans to return to teaching.
— Ben Muessig
Senate District 25 (Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, DUMBO, Greenpoint & Williamsburg)
Democratic newcomer Daniel Squadron easily overwhelmed his Republican opponent, John Chromczak — a victory all but guaranteed after Squadron defeated 30-year incumbent Marty Connor in the September primary.
“Today’s a day that makes you feel privileged to be alive and honored to be an American,” Squadron said on Tuesday night, referring to Obama’s victory, but also to his own. “It’s very exciting to go to the state Senate and be part of a historical year. It’s impossible to overestimate what’s happening to America.”
As for Chromczak, he told The Brooklyn Paper on Wednesday morning that he will work closely with the city GOP on a comeback — for himself and the party.
— Sarah Portlock
Assembly District 46 (Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Coney Island, and Brighton Beach
Democratic Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny smoothly sailed to victory over his GOP challenger, Bob Capano, a Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights community activist who struggled to make inroads outside of the Ridge.
“This reaffirms that people believe that a very unusual kind of representative can be a very effective representative,” said Brook-Krasny, who celebrated his big win at Coney Island Surf and Turf Grill on Surf Avenue.
In his second two-year term, the Soviet-émigré and entrepreneur said he wants to spearhead the redevelopment of Coney Island and secure affordable housing in the district.
Capano did not to elaborate on his future, but he landed about 53 percent of the votes in Bay Ridge — an indication that Capano could give Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) a serious fight in next year’s election.
“At this point, I can’t imagine a more viable candidate to go up against Gentile than Bob Capano,” said Dave Ryan, Conservative Party district leader.
“I’m thinking we have our candidate right now.”— Ben Muessig
©2008 Community News Group
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