As the 46th Assembly District Democratic primary race between frontrunner Ethan Lustig-Elgrably and Mathylde Frontus enters the back stretch, the mud is beginning to fly over who is, and who is not ducking debates between the two political gladiators.
The dustup came to a heightened war or words today just hours before Frontus is set to appear at a South Brooklyn Progressive Resistance (SBPR) forum tonight in Bay Ridge. The social media flier for the verbal battle has both Frontus and Lustig-Elgrably’s photo on it, but below Lustig-Elgrably’s picture are the words, “invited but not attending.”
Lustig-Elgrably’s non-attendance has given Frontus an opening for attack.
“One of the hallmarks of a free and open democracy is the ability for the electorate to hear directly from candidates who are seeking to represent them in an upcoming election. With primary day just a mere 3 weeks away, I would like to know why my opponent has refused to attend a candidate forum to take questions from the community. In my humble opinion, this is a major red flag and he should be held accountable for not speaking directly to the people,” said Frontus.
But Team Lustig-Elgrably, sensing a political ambush, say their candidate is open to candidate forums and believes that they are a key part to the Democratic process, but the events must serve their purpose and be impartial and without agenda or bias.
Lustig-Elgrably supporters note that the main SBPR organizers, Rachel Posner and Jennifer Gaboury, who both reached out to the Lustig-Elgrably’s campaign to attend the forum, have donated to Frontus.
Gaboury responded that the SBPR is an ad-hoc group of over 600 members, including 75-100 active members, who are all deeply involved in the political process so it should come as no surprise that some of its members donate to one candidate or another.
“I am a political person and we have people active in campaigns. You would expect anyone [in SBPR) to be doing political things, including giving donations,” said Gaboury.
But Lustig-Elgrably’s campaign spokesperson Daniele de Groot called tonight’s forum a sham.
“Ethan Lustig-Elgrably isn’t just open and willing to attend candidate forums, he’s attended all three candidate forums across Brooklyn thus far, unlike his opponent who blew off the MDCNY [Muslim Democratic Club of NY] forum. He looks forward to a continued and vigorous exchange of ideas,” said de Groot.
Frontus responed that the MDCNY event was an endorsement meeting and not a forum, and that she was late in filling out the questionnaire, thus she didn’t get the endorsement.
While Frontus and Lustig-Elgrably continue to do battle in the lead-up to the primary, Republican Steve Saperstein is already lacing up the gloves for the Nov. 6 general election, while doing his best Muhammad Ali in trash talking.
“I think it’s clear that Ethan is a puppet being carefully controlled by the local Democratic machine, as were the two Democrats who filled that seat before him who coincidentally are now both convicted felons. We all saw Ethan try speaking before the Bay Ridge Democrats a few months ago and based on his horrific performance there, I’m not really surprised he’s fearful of debating Dr. Frontus. His Manchurian candidate campaign is a sham and I look forward to exposing him for what he really is. He can try hiding in this primary but that won’t work with me in the general election,” said Saperstein.
The primary is Sept. 13. The general election is Nov. 6. The district includes Coney Island, Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and a slice of Brighton Beach.