Trading races: Ridge Republican moves campaign to Coney • Brooklyn Paper

Trading races: Ridge Republican moves campaign to Coney

SWITCHEROO: Republican Andy Sullivan now plans on running for council in Coney Island instead of Bay Ridge.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

A Tea Party Republican is making the move from Bay Ridge to Coney Island in hopes of finding a smoother ride into the City Council.

Andy Sullivan, who planned on taking on incumbent Councilman Vincent Gentile next November, says he now he has his sight set on the People’s Playground council seat being vacated by term-limited Councilman Domenic Recchia. The construction worker — known for his fight against the Sheepshead Bay mosque and proposed Muslim community center at Ground Zero in Manhattan, as well as for his appearances on Fox News’s “Hannity” — said the increasingly competitive and bitter campaign between Democratic contenders inspired him to make the switch.

“This is going to be a bloodletting of a Democratic primary, and I think there’s an opportunity for a Republican to get in there and possibly win,” said Sullivan.

There are four Democrats currently running for the seat, including John Lisyanskiy, a staffer for Council Speaker Christine Quinn; Mark Treyger, an aide to Assemblyman Bill Colton (D–Bensonhurst); Boardwalk activist Todd Dobrin; and Pastor Connis Mobley of the United Community Baptist Church on Mermaid Avenue.

Sullivan said he believes he can rally a coalition of older “Reagan Democrats” who tend to vote Republican, as well as conservative-leaning Asians and Latinos behind him in the working-class district, which spans the Coney, Seagate, Gravesend, and parts of Bath Beach and Bensonhurst.

“It’s a blue-collar district, and I’m a blue-collar guy,” Sullivan said.

The move also allows Sullivan to run on the Republican ticket without facing an opponent in a primary — something that would have happened had he stayed in the race in Bay Ridge, where he would have squared off against John Quaglione, an aide to Republican state Sen. Marty Golden.

Sullivan said he would now support his former rival’s bid to grab Gentile’s seat, although he did not have discussion with Quaglione or Golden before deciding to change his political plan..

Still, the change follows the advice given by Reagan’s adopted son, Michael Reagan, when he visited with county Republicans earlier this month, urging them to band together, refrain from petty infighting, and avoid the fate of the reds whom his father famously tabbed the “Evil Empire.”

“We need to stop eating our young, stop all this infighting and, if we can’t do that, we’ll be the ones left in the ash heap of history, not the communists,” Reagan said.

Sullivan, who doesn’t live in the Coney Island district, says he would move within the district before Election Day.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.

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