Clarke, Donovan Defend House Seats In Tomorrow’s Primary

The showdown for the Congressional races starts first thing tomorrow morning as two incumbents look to keep their seats as Brooklyn lawmakers. Here’s the breakdown:

Congressional District 9

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke
Adem Bunkeddeko

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke, a 12-year incumbent, will face first time candidate Adem Bunkeddeko, a recent Harvard Business School graduate and son of Ugandan refugees in the Democratic Party primary.

The district includes parts of Crown Heights, Park Slope, Flatbush, Prospect-Lefferts-Gardens, Brownsville, Sheepshead Bay and East Flatbush.

Clarke, who was first elected to the House of Representative in 2006, has not faced a primary challenger since 2012. She has also received major Democratic Party institutional support from the likes of among others U.S. Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bed-Stuy, Brownsville, East New York, Canarsie, Mill Basin, Coney Island, and South Ozone Park and Howard Beach in Queens) and Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn, Queens, Lower Manhattan), along with Mayor Bill de Blasio. Prior to serving in Congress, Clarke served in the city council, where she succeeded her mother, former City Council member Una Clarke.

Bunkeddeko has run a campaign aimed at injecting new blood into the district, arguing for a change in leadership. Bunkeddeko has a history of grassroots organizing and as a member of Community Board 8, believes he is more familiar with the issues facing the district.

Overall, Bunkeddeko was able to raise over $200,000, while Clarke was able to raise over $700,00 in a race set to see Clarke continue as one of Central Brooklyn’s more outspoken Democrats.

Congressional District 11

Congressman Dan Donovan
Former Congressman Michael Grimm

In a hotly contested race, U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan will face off against former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm in the Republican Party Primary.

The district includes parts of South Brooklyn and Staten Island, the heart of the city’s rather small Republican Party base in comparison to the Democratic Party.

Grimm has seen a resurgence in support since announcing his candidacy late last year, after serving eight months in federal prison for tax evasion. The former FBI agent and Marine Corps veteran marched back into politics with an endorsement from Steve Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist.  

Polls leading up to tomorrow’s primary have both Donovan and Grimm winning, depending on who took the poll and when it was taken.

Donovan, a former prosecutor, has been vocal about Grimm’s criminal history, noting that his lack of honesty and trust in the past has still left many fearing his future as a politician.

Donovan also has gained many of the establishments endorsements including that of President Donald Trump and Brooklyn Conservative Party Chair Jerry Kassar. The incumbent was able to raise over a million dollars going into tomorrow’s race against Grimm’s over $440,000.

Max Rose. Photo from his Max Rose for Congress website.

On the Democratic Party side, U.S. Army Veteran Max Rose (D) is the clear frontrunner in a field of five other candidates. They include Michael DeCillis, Paul Sperling, Zach Emig, Michael DeVito Jr. and Omar Vaid.

Rose has become a break-out challenger in receiving the support of the Democratic National Congressional Committee along with City Councilmembers Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach) and Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Gravesend).

Rose is a is the first post-9/11 combat veteran to run for office in New York City who’s platforms include universal health care, attention towards a fair share of  infrastructure in Staten Island and promises to combat an issue close to home — the ongoing opioid issue that has plagued Staten Island and parts of Southern Brooklyn.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. To get help finding your polling place, click here.

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