Geoffrey Davis, the 43rd Assembly Democratic District leader and brother of slain City Councilmember James Davis, is looking like the person to beat in replacing Crown Heights Assemblymember Karim Camara, who is stepping down to join the Cuomo administration.
The Davis family is long known in African-American Brooklyn Democratic Party politics as being fiercely independent dating back to when James Davis successfully challenged former Kings County Democratic Party boss Clarence Norman for his district leadership position, and went on to upset the than machine’s preferred candidate, Letitia James, for the city council seat.
Interestingly, Camara comes through the politically influential First Baptist Church of Crown Heights, in which Clarence Norman Sr. is the head pastor.
“Geoffrey represents the little people just like his brother did,” said James Caldwell, president of the 77th Precinct Community Council and a longtime neighborhood political activist, who is supporting Davis.
“A lot of times people forget where they came from and go out and get new friends once they get elected and Geoffrey isn’t that way. Also his mother, Thelma, is very active working with seniors,” he added.
Norman’s downfall came after former District Attorney Charles Hynes, who appeared to have a grudge against Norman, sought and got a dubious felony corruption conviction against Norman resulting in his fall from grace and doing jail time.
In light of the scandals involving the Hynes DA tenure in which 11 murder convictions have already been overturned, even Caldwell, no fan of Norman is saying current DA Ken Thompson should reopen the Norman case to see if it warrants exoneration.
Between James Davis’ election and Norman’s conviction several independent African-American elected leaders have risen – most notably Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and Borough President Eric Adams. Both, along with Public Advocate James, now enjoy a certain political clout as being major office holders.
But Caldwell said regardless of what elected official supports whom to replace Camara, Geoffrey Davis has the name recognition, and like his brother, has worked and lived in the district from the ground up.
This includes a strong relationship with the Chabad Jewish sect of Crown Heights as the Davis Brothers grew up just around the corner of the 770 Eastern Parkway Lubavitch headquarters. As children they also knew the late Grand Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
Ultimately though, the decision of who will get the Democratic line if Gov. Cumo calls a special election is current Kings County Democratic Party boss Frank Seddio. That’s because in special elections, the party gets to pick their candidate.
Seddio could not be reached for comment, but sources say Seddio is likely to support the candidate that has the best voting numbers, which favors Davis.