New Kings Dems At Stalemate Over DA Endorsement


As of last night, the New Kings Democrats (NKD), one of Brooklyns foremost progressive political clubs, have still not reached a consensus on which district attorney candidate to endorse.

That after three of the candidates – Ama Dwimoh, Eric Gonzalez and Anne Swern, plus a representative of Marc J. Fliedner – spoke before the organization’s members and answered their questions, hoping to get the club’s nod. But after all the candidates spoke, the eligible NKD members took a vote and there was no two-thirds consensus that the club requires to give endorsement.

“After hours of candidate interviews, direct questioning of the candidates by our full membership, and passionate debate between supporters of candidates, no one candidate reached the two-thirds threshold necessary for formal endorsement,read a statement posted to the NKD Twitter late that night.

Anne Swern

The three candidates all seemed to be pursuing the same end goals – ending mass incarceration, reducing the population of Rikers Island and creating constructive alternatives to prison for mentally ill convicts – but they took varied approaches to promoting their candidacy.

Swern kept her tone adamant and authoritative, stressing her years of experience and insisting that she was the only candidate who had the competence necessary to follow through with her promises.

“Every candidate talks reform, but I actually can do reform,” she said. Ive done it in the past, and I will do it in the future. And I want you to judge me by my past record, so you know what I will do in the future.

Ama Dwimoh

Dwimoh also brought up her years of experience, but to a different end. As she recounted, she started working for the district attorneys office right out of law school, and ended up serving for 21 years before leaving in 2010. During her tenure, she handled a multitude of different cases, but more importantly, she saw the district attorneys office transform – and not for the better. By her account, she knew, better than anyone else, that the entire system needed an overhaul.

“I left the DAs office in 2010, because the office had changed,said Dwimoh. The values and what I believed in had gone awry. I left because the office lost its way when it came to integrity and truth. I couldnt serve there anymore. So I left. And thats the very reason Im running now.

Gonzalez, meanwhile, took a strictly pathos-oriented approach. During his time on the mic, he spoke at length about his devotion to the late Ken Thompson and his desire to finish what his predecessor started. He also pointed out that, as someone who spent a lot of his childhood in East New York, he grew up alongside the very people who are most profoundly affected by the DA offices policies.

Eric Gonzalez

“I think all of you know that the work that Ken and I started together was groundbreaking work, that no other DAs office was doing,said Gonzalez. And that work was so important to me, because coming from the community that I came fromIm the only candidate in this race that really lived in a high-crime neighborhood as a young person.

By NKD Vice President Matthew Sterns account, all three candidates made strong, compelling cases for their candidacy. Furthermore, as he points out, endorsements only constitute a small part of the work NKD does, and members are encouraged to back whichever candidate they please if a consensus isnt reached.

“I think it came down to the fact there was more than one great candidate that our membership was inspired by,said Stern. And when our votes don’t clearly lead us to one candidate, we don’t formally endorse any individual, and encourage our members to support who they choose.