Ethnic and Racial Diversity Takes Hit In Brooklyn GOP Feud

State Sen. Marty Golden
State Sen. Marty Golden

In the aftermath of the battle between Bay Ridge Sen. Marty Golden and former Kings County Republican Chair Craig Eaton over control of Brooklyn’s Republican Party an elephant was left in the room that neither side appears anxious to exploit – namely that the inside arguing sideswiped Golden’s efforts to recruit more blacks, Hispanic and Asians so the party could be more diverse.

Golden came to the meeting armed with 438 proxies including many from blacks and Hispanics in order to oust Eaton. However, only 17 were accepted and 421 were tossed out by the credential committee. In contrast, Eaton submitted 201 proxies with 172 accepted and 29 rejected; and 46th Assembly District GOP candidate Lucretia Regina-Potter submitted 123 proxies with 117 accepted and six thrown out.

Brandon Washington
Brandon Washington

This ultimately led to the election of former Assembly Member Arnaldo Ferraro as the new Kings County Republican Chair instead of Golden’s favored candidate, attorney Ted Ghorra.

“I don’t think they (proxies) were thrown out simply because a majority of them were from minorities,” said Brandon Washington, the African-American president of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club and a Golden supporter. “At the end of the day, they were the casualties of war, but it makes the GOP look bad as well.”

Washington, who is not a district leader or part of the county committee picking the new chair, said while Eaton’s camp is more traditional in its GOP makeup, Golden did an excellent job of reaching out to the minority and immigrant community.

Golden also recently made a trip to Bedford-Stuyvesant to meet with African-Americans to try to get more to join the Republican Party, and regularly holds events with the Asian community in his district.

“One reason I changed over (from Democrat to Republican) was because of Marty Golden,” said James Caldwell, president of the 77th Police Precinct Community Council in Crown Heights and a longtime civic leader. “I’ve know him for a number of years and he said he wanted to get more people involved in the communities of color in the Republican Party to try to get more of a balance in the community.”

But sources in the Eaton camp noted that Golden has a history of gerrymandering out Muslim and black pockets from his district. Additionally, they said in 2001 Golden led the fight to remove Arthur Bramwell, the first African-American GOP Chair of Brooklyn.

Gerry O’Brien, who chaired the organizational meeting, said the proxies submitted did not distinguish race or ethnicity, and Golden’s proxies were tossed on merit alone because of irregularities in dates and how the forms were filled out.

While many minorities had their proxies tossed out, sources in Golden’s camp said they will continue to pursue the matter in state Supreme Court to have the proxies counted on merit, and don’t expect to take the issue to the federal Justice Department, as Brooklyn is deemed a special voting rights district.

It goes against the values of what Republicans stand for to make a racial issue from this, said a Golden source.

Golden did not return calls at post time.