A Boro Park political operative and publisher of a Jewish news website said late last week that it was he and not City Councilman David Greenfield who was behind petitioning the City’s Board of Elections for the Opportunity to Ballot (OTB) as a write-in candidate against Assemblyman Dov Hikind‘s chosen candidate to replace him as Democratic District leader.
Moshe Friedman, publisher of JPupdates, said he has been circulating OTB petitions almost a full week before KCP exclusively reported that Hikind was giving up his district leadership seat and his committee had chosen his communications assistant and political upstart David Schwartz, 22, to replace him.
Sources close to Hikind than told KCP in a follow-up story that Greenfield was behind starting the OTB petitions so that he could become the write-in candidate against Schwartz – which Hikind likened to a Greenfield power grab at the expense of bringing some new political blood and ideas into the district.
“He (Hikind) claims it’s a power grab, but the OTB petitions were circulated before the Schwartz announcement,” said Friedman. “The only power grab is Dov giving away his district leadership seat to someone who will listen to him.”
Friedman said he decided four months ago that Hikind was planning to retire, and give both his assembly and district leadership seat to his son, Yoni, through election loopholes.
“I decided I was not not going to let it happen. If Yoni wants to run, let him run, but he should not get the seat because of his father,” said Friedman, who added he spoke to many in the community about this, but couldn’t recall if Greenfield was one of those people.
However, after Hikind challenged the OTB petitions, Friedman said he did speak to Greenfield about it and then got an additional 1,200 signatures to allow for a write-in candidate against Schwartz in the Sept. 13 primary.
Hikind said it is no state secret that he wanted give up the district leadership seat, but his son Yoni never had an interest in the district leadership seat nor his assembly seat, which he plans to keep for years to come.
“They were told I was stepping down and wanted to give it to someone young and was doing something in the community, and there’s no question that David Greenfield was behind it,” he said. “Now there’s a lot of opposition and resentment growing to deny a 22-year-old guy that is so so well like by so many people. I don’t believe that David (Greenfield) will run now and take that kind of chance. Imagine if he lost to David Schwartz.”
A source close to Greenfield said the city councilman had nothing to do with the first round of OTB petitions, but he supported the second round. That’s because several longtime Boro Park Democrats were outraged that Hikind made the decision to put Schwartz into the district leadership position without consulting them on the move or asking if they were interested in it, the source said.
A spokesperson for Greenfield wouldn’t address the question of whether he will run for district leader as it’s premature to consider while Hikind is still challenging the OTB petitions.
Although an unpaid position, Democratic District leaders wield a lot of power including picking judges and doling out patronage party jobs such as election workers.