Brannan, Quaglione Emerge Victorious, Head To November Showdown

Justin Brannan (2)

Following a hard run race between nine candidates, two winners emerged last night from the hotly contested city council primary for the 43rd district  -– Democratic nominee Justin Brannan and Republican nominee John Quaglione.

Both Brannan and Quaglione celebrated their victories in Bay Ridge. Dozens of Brannan supporters filled up the dining area of Cebu Bar & Bistro, 8801 3rd Avenue, while Quaglione opted for a more formal approach hosting nearly 90 of his supporters at the Bay Ridge Manor, 476 76th Street. Both front-runners described the nine month ordeal to be somewhat of a rollercoaster, one they intend on riding one more time for the upcoming general election on November 7.

Justin Brannan, center, with his mother, Marry Brannan, on the left, and his wife, Leigh, on his right. Brannan won the Democratic Primary. Photo by Kadia Goba

“I’m not going to change anything, said Brannan.  “I didn’t run a campaign that wasn’t true to myself. I ran the campaign I wanted to run. I talked about things the average working, middle class person cared about.” said Brannan.

Brannan, who managed to secure over 20 labor union endorsements, pulled through with a slim 7.5 percent lead over the runner-up, Rev. Khader El-Yateem. The final results showed 3,561 voters came out to support Brannan shoring up 38.8 percent of the district’s Democratic vote. During his acceptance speech the winner acknowledged his four opponents and sitting Councilmember Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, Bensonhurst), whom he credited for giving him his start. Gentile who was unsuccessful at his bid for District Attorney was also in attendance.

But the loudest message last night was the urgency to collaborate with fellow Democrats throughout the district in order to maintain the current Democratic seat. With 56 days before the general election, Brannan made it clear there is still more work to be done as he braced for the upcoming general election against the Republican candidate.

“We’ve got one of the only elections in the city where the general election is going to be competitive and we are going to have to come together,” said Brannan. “We’ve got to galvanize people. We’ve got to carry this momentum forward.”

KCP asked Brannan what experiences throughout the campaign sparked moments of doubt. The candidate described the entire ordeal as a roller coaster. “When you talk to one voter and they brush you off, you immediately think ‘Oh, that’s it, I’m going to lose,’ and then you see the next person and they’re like ‘Oh my God! I came out just to vote for you.’”

Republican nominee John Quaglione, left, with his wife and children, and Sen. Marty Golden at his victory party. Photo by Kadia Goba

The Republican front-runner also experienced bouts of primary panic. Quaglione admitted he was nervous when the initial election numbers posted with a mere 8 percent lead over the runner-up Liam McCabe. “We were polling at least 10 points ahead,” said Quaglione.

According to Quaglione, two poll results taken two weeks apart indicated 30 percent of voters were undecided. The candidate feared the undecided group would evenly split among the four candidates, reducing the unconfirmed, 10-point lead to a critical 6 points.

Quaglione said he called nearly 50 undecided voters in hopes to turn them into supporters during the final days of the campaign.  That strategy may have secured the primary for the candidate –– the final results show Quaglione taking 49 percent of the district’s Republican vote, with a widened 17-point spread between he and the runner up McCabe.

“I was getting excited by the minute,” said Anita Quaglione, the candidate’s mother. Nicholas Quaglione was short and deliberate in his response to his son’s successful primary campaign. “Well deserved.  It took four years in the making and now to another victory November 7.”

The candidate said he plans to switch tactics for the general election, honing in on the democrats in the district that are unhappy with Mayor de Blasio. Quaglione can likely expect the support of at least one Republican candidate, Bob Capano, who stopped by to thank the nominee for running a clean campaign said Quaglione.

State Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Marine Park) was also in attendance and offered some predictions on the upcoming race, which includes his former press secretary, Quaglione. “That one. He’s going all the way,” said Golden.