After a hard fought race, Justin Brannan (D) inched past John Quaglione (R) to win the city council seat for the 43rd district, covering Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Bath Beach.
Brannan and supporters celebrated the win at Cebu Bistro, 8801 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge. But from the time the polls closed at 9 p.m. until NY1 unofficially called the race at 10:30 p.m., supporters grew weary about results throughout the evening that showed Brannan leading Quaglione by as little as 100 – 300 votes.
“It’s anxiety provoking, said Kathy Azbell-Muldoon, 48, who volunteered for Brannan throughout the campaign. “Let’s just say I’m not built for politics and the last hour has been brutal.”
Brannan wiggled by with as shallow 2 percent lead between him and his other three opponents. That number includes the 1,027 votes acquired the Working Families Party line. In all, Brannan won 12,516 votes, representing 50.51% of the district, only 3½% (895 votes) more than his strongest contender, Quaglione.
Democrats showed a slight increase in voter turnout but Republicans came out in droves to support their candidate during this election cycle. Quaglione secured the lion’s share of votes during the primary with 1,865 of the 4004 Republican votes casted. But last night, Republicans more than doubled their presence with an impressive 9,729 total vote turnout. The Republican candidate also secured over 1,800 votes from the questionably obtained Conservative and Independence Party lines. In total, Quaglione pulled in 11,621 votes, which represented a whopping 46.89% of the district’s support.
Reform candidate Bob Capano won 324 nods of the district’s voter’s base.
KCP Asked Brannan how he plans to reach the large constituent base that didn’t vote for him.
“That’s the challenge, now I have to represent people that didn’t vote for me too, said Brannan. “But I understand, and I hear them too and part of my vision is to represent everyone equally. That includes everyone that didn’t vote for me.”
During his victory speech, Brannan thanked several unions who he said came out to support him including Transit Worker’s Union (TWU), 32BJ, Hotel Trade and Commission (HTC), Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the Teamsters. When asked why he omitted media outlets that covered his and other local races throughout the city, Brannan said, “You guys were awesome. You guys are the hope of this sort of local news, otherwise who talks about it? You guys are great.”
Outgoing incumbent Vincent Gentile (D), who held the position for he past 14 years, was also at the victory party to support his former staffer’s win despite losing his bid for District Attorney to Eric Gonzalez in the recent Democratic Party primary.
“So many people worked so hard for this, including Justin,” said Gentile who says he is not sure what’s ahead for him. “I look forward to working with in our new councilman.”
Councilmember Brad Lander (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington) and Councilmember-elect Kalman Yaeger (D-Boro Park, Bensonhurst, Midwood, Kensington) and primary opponent the Rev. Khader El-Yateem were also in attendance to congratulate Brannan.