Filling Squadron’s seat: A primer to the candidates vying to succeed the former state Senator

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It’s less of an election guide and more of a selection guide.

The four candidates vying to replace former state Sen. Daniel Squadron as the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer on the November ballot won’t be facing the voters in a primary, but potential constituents should still probably know who they are.

Because Squadron’s surprise resignation, which was delivered via an Albany-damning New York Daily News op-ed, came after the filing deadline for candidate petitions, the Democratic contender for his seat — and almost certainly his successor — will be chosen by members of county committees in Brooklyn and Manhattan, the two boroughs the 26th Senate District straddles.

The campaign — or what there is of it — for the Democratic ballot line will not play out on the stump, but in the political clubs of party activists and the back rooms of county committee meetings. Good relationships with party bosses will count more than any appeal to actual voters. And because of arcane regulations, the county committees’ votes are weighted heavily in favor of Manhattan members, meaning the seat that has been held by a Brooklynite for nearly four decades will likely go to a pol from the distant isle.

The decision is expected later this month, after the Sept. 12 primary gives voters a voice in most other races. The active contenders, in alphabetical order, are:

Alan Gerson

• A resident of Manhattan and Columbia Law School graduate.

• Served as a councilman from Manhattan from 2002 to 2009, when he was unseated in an ill-fated reelection campaign during which he contracted swine flu, his campaign manager got busted for child pornography, and his campaign treasurer, special counsel, and campaign secretary — who was also his mother — died.

Brian Kavanagh

• A Manhattan resident and 11-year Albany veteran, he currently serves as the assemblyman for New York’s 74th District.

• Declared his candidacy hours after Squadron announced his resignation, which led some to suggest he got a heads up from the former senator and thus his support as a successor.

• A progressive member of the Democrat-controlled Assembly, his legislative efforts have focused on strengthening tenant rights, pushing green energy projects, and promoting equality for the LGBT community.

Eileen Naples

• A Cobble Hill resident, she worked in the Brooklyn district attorney’s office as a prosecutor representing domestic abuse victims until 2015, when she retired to raise her son.

• Advocates for ethics and criminal-justice reform, including closing a state loophole that allows special-interest groups to donate millions to politicians’ campaigns and the institution of a cashless-bail system.

• As a Brooklynite and political novice, she faces an uphill battle to court Manhattan county committee members’ votes.

Paul Newell

• A Manhattan resident who has served as a district leader there since 2009.

• Made his name as the underdog that challenged Sheldon Silver for his Assembly seat in 2008, and ran a second unsuccessful campaign for the Assembly last year.

•An active advocate for tenants’ rights.

Diego Segalini

• A Brooklyn native who resides in Manhattan, the political newcomer is currently the executive vice president of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, which he joined in 2007.

• Serves on the community board that represents his neighborhood on the distant isle.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:55 pm, July 9, 2018: Additional reporting on Eileen Naples added.
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Reasonable discourse

PJ says:
There's at least one more candidate from Brooklyn: Eileen Naples. Unless she's dropped out in the last few days, that makes five.

The Daily News (a real newspaper unlike this rag) did a story about her last week ( and here is her website (
Sept. 7, 2017, 9:59 am
Harvey from Greenpoint says:
Time Warner used to be the worst company to company, like third world bad.
Then, they got really good.
Then they were bought by Spectrum and are almost as bad as before.
Should be an opportunity for Verizon to redeem themselves.
Sept. 7, 2017, 11:04 am
Max from Brooklyn Heights says:
I heard Marty Connor was making a comeback
Sept. 7, 2017, 1:02 pm
Morris from Mill Basin says:
Go out and vote or die!
Sept. 7, 2017, 4:25 pm
Helen Simpson from The Bronx says:
Sorry Morris - but many of us are sending a message by not voting. It's the loudest way to silently express your true feelings. I would encourage you to try not voting, so you would actually know what we're talking about!
Sept. 8, 2017, 6:36 am
Andrew Porter from Brooklyn Heights says:
I once won a contest by one vote.

Anyone who doesn't vote to "send a message" is doing the exact opposite—denying yourself the ability to influence public policies.
Sept. 8, 2017, 12:06 pm
Morris from Mill Basin says:
a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh a-duh
Sept. 9, 2017, 11:33 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I hate to break this to the non-voter, but not voting really does more harm than good. In reality, you are just saying to the candidates that you won't stand in their way. Also, they won't even have to worry about you either since you won't bother to vote anyway. The reality of it all is that by not voting, you are actually forfeiting your say when it comes to elections. If anyone still chooses not to vote, then don't complain about the results, because you didn't bother to vote on that anyway. Overall, not voting just makes you nothing more than a fly on the wall, and only those who voted that day will matter and count, not those who chose to sit out the vote.
Sept. 9, 2017, 4:45 pm

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