Early Odds on Dems Scrambling To Replace Term-Limited Gentile

Untitled design (14)

Several weeks ago, KCP did a story about three Republicans, who are already jockeying for position in the September 2017 primary for term-limited City Council Member Vinnie Gentile‘s 43 District seat.

To balance that story out, there are five Democrats gearing up or rumored to be looking to replace Gentle. They are Justin Brannan, who currently works in a senior position of the de Blasio Administration in an intergovernmental communications role; 49th District Assemblyman Peter Abbate Jr.; Kevin Peter Carroll, the male district leaders for the 64th Assembly District; Arab-American Activist Linda Sarsour; and Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann.

Justin Brennan
Justin Brannan

Of the five, Brannan at this point is considered the clear frontrunner. A lifelong Bay Ridge resident, small business owner and president and founder of the Bay Ridge Democrats, Brannan worked as Gentile’s director of communications and legislative affairs for many years, and like Gentile, is a very close and trusted advisor to de Blasio.

More importantly then his formidable political connections is that Brannan is very active in Bay Ridge and is the go-to-guy for many residents needing to navigate the political system. He also created Bay Ridge Cares, a non-profit charity that acts as the neighborhood’s own Red Cross – helping neighbors in times of need with financial assistance and otherwise.

Asked to comment for this story, Brannan said, “Continuing to serve the community that I have always called home is definitely a part of my future.”

Assemblyman Peter Abbate
Assemblyman Peter Abbate Jr.

While Abbate has thrown around hints he may run for the position, he told KCP he is more interested in getting re-elected this year and on the policy end in Albany. To that end, Abbate, first elected in 1986, is one of the most active assembly members in Albany who is at or near the head of the class for bills sponsored and/or co-sponsored that passed both legislative chambers and were signed by the governor. He remains a very proficient and knowledgable source on KCP stories regarding state legislation and policy.

The upside to Abbate running is his base salary increases if he wins from its current $79,500 per year to $148,500 as a City Council member. The down side is he would give up a lot of seniority and power in Albany.

Kevin Peter Carroll
Kevin Peter Carroll

Carroll, who told KCP he is exploring a run for Gentile’s council seat, won the district leadership seat by beating longtime District Leader Ralph Perfetto in 2010. While his Brooklyn Democrats for Change Club lost some muscle when Betty Ann Caniziohis preferred candidate to beat his female co-leaderJoanne Seminara was reprimanded and suspended without pay from the Board of Elections for her alleged role in purging voters, he still has fairly strong County Democratic support.

A case in point was a fundraiser he had earlier this drew Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, both Assemblywoman Pam Harris and her primary opponent Kate Cucco, City Councilman Mark Tryeger and a slew of district leaders from around the borough. He currently works in the office of City Councilman Stephen Levin.

Linda SarsourSarsour has indicated to another media outlet that she or someone else from Bay Ridge’s large Arab and Palestinian neighborhood will run. Like Brannan, she is a favorite of de Blasio, who makes sure her Arab American Association of New York non-profit is always well-funded. However, she is more an ally to de Blasio, whereas Brannan is a working part of the de Blasio team. Sarsour is a big supporter of the Blacklivesmatter movement, which itself recently supported the BDS (Boycott, Divest & Sanctions). KCP has tried several times to interview her or to comment on several stories, including this one, and she has never returned any contact with a communication.

Beckman is also being talked about as a candidate and also did not return KCP calls fro comment. Sources say with two girls in college, a husband who is a cop and a safe job making $120,000 a year as district manager of Community Board 10, she is unlikely to pull the trigger and run for the city council.

More from Around New York