Just when you thought you had enough Bay Ridge politics after the brutal Democratic and GOP primaries to replace term-limited City Council Member Vincent Gentile, up from the wellspring have jumped two candidates looking to unseat State Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Gravesend and parts of Sheepshead Bay, Borough Park and Midwood).
Journalist Ross Barkan has announced he’s seeking the Democratic nod to face off Golden in next year’s primary and feels he has the right stuff to become an agent of change and reform.
“If you’ve read my columns in the Village Voice, the Guardian, Gothamist or any of the other outlets I’ve written for, you can imagine what this campaign will be about. My values have been laid bare and will guide everything I do. What I’m finding is, you can only try to hold the system accountable for so long from the outside. Sometimes, you have to break in and do it from the inside,” wrote Barkan in a why-on-running-for-office treatise online.
“I know how to hold power to account. I understand why politicians do what they do, and why they fail. I know why most of them are cowardly.
“I’ve lived in the neighborhood of Bay Ridge just about my entire life, but that’s not the point. This campaign won’t be about me reading my resume off a piece of paper. This campaign will be about telling the truth. I will say what others are afraid to say — or can’t. I will fight for the issues that matter. I will stand up to anyone who tries to screw the people of New York City. Unlike just about everyone else elected to office in this city and state, I don’t peddle bullshit.”
Barkan throws out a laundry list of issues he will work on including passing single payer healthcare, working to unseat the breakaway Senate Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) and public transportation, including running a trainline from Bay Ridge east to Kings Plaza.
But before Barkan heads to a November 2018 general election showdown against Golden, he will likely have to beat Bay Ridge Democrats President Andrew Gounardes, which could be a tall order.
Gounardes, a Greek-American born and raised in Bay Ridge, is an attorney and currently the general counsel for Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. Gounardes ran in 2012 against Golden and garenered 42 percent of the vote to Golden’s 58 percent, which by Brooklyn standards is a tight race.
Gounardes is also close with club founder and Democratic candidate for the City Council, Justin Brannan.
“I filed a committee to run a few weeks ago based on conversations I’ve had with supporters and community activists across Southern Brooklyn. I have not made any decisions yet, but will keep talking to people and announce my decision in the coming weeks,” said Gounardes.
How well the Democrats will do against Golden is anybody’s guess, but the outcome of Brannan’s upcoming general election race against Republican John Quaglione – Golden’s longtime communications director – could very well strengthen or weaken Golden’s hand.
And the Brannan-Quaglione contest remains foremost in Gounardes’ mind.
“I’ve been helping Justin’s campaign from day one and his victory is my number one priority,” said Gounardes.
-Kadia Goba contributed to this story