Golden Says ‘No Mas’ In Challenging Gounardes

Gounardes opens up Golden’s Lockedbox (5)

Former Republican State Sen. Marty Golden has decided against challenging State Sen. Andrew Gounardes in a rematch next year for the 22nd Senate District seat representing Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach and Marine Park.

Golden, the last remaining GOPer to hold a fully Brooklyn seat, held the senate seat from 2003-2018 before narrowly losing to Gounardes last year in a near sweep for Bay Ridge Democrats in the last few years.

Marty Golden
State Senator Andrew Gounardes
State Senator Andrew Gounardes

This included City Council Member Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, Bensonhurst) winning the vacant city council seat over Republican Jon Quaglione in 2017 and U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D-Southern Brooklyn, State Island) defeating incumbent former Republican Congressman Dan Donovan, leaving Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis (R-Bay Ridge, State Island), who is challenging Rose for his seat next year, as the only Republican holding public office in the borough.

“I’m not going to run. I have no intention of running in 2020, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be out of the game in the future. I’ve been working with Catholic Charities and I’m enjoying my new position helping get housing for seniors and the homeless,” Golden told KCP.

Golden noted a few GOPers have expressed interest in taking on Gounardes in a presidential election year and feels that both Gounardes and Rose can be beaten. “Their politics don’t line up with the community and both are vulnerable,” he said.

John Quaglione
Liam McCabe

Among those said to be considering a run are Golden’s former communications director John Quaglione, who narrowly lost to Brannan in 2017, businessman Vito Bruno, who ran as a Republican for Borough President in 2017 and Republican District Leader Liam McCabe.

Quaglione could not be reached for this story at post time, but both Bruno and McCabe said Golden will be missed.

“My hope was that Marty would run. He is a lion of conservative principles and it is news to me he’s not going to do it.  It’s a sad day cause Marty was a warrior and I fought so many political battles with him. He had a great and courageous career,” said McCabe, who is also president of the Verrazano Republican Club.

McCabe said he is thinking about running and quickly threw the gloves off in a possible challenge to Gounardes.

“I think he [Gounardes] is out of touch, arrogant and not ready for prime time. Andrew can’t even get a sign up. His district office still has a Justin Brannan for city council sign on it. He’s rarely in the district, even in his own Bay Ridge neighborhood, and Marty was everywhere in the district when he was in office. Everybody says he’s not in the district because he’s busy in Albany passing legislation like bail reform. If that’s his excuse that passing legislation that puts criminals back on the street and is making it harder for prosecutors to do their job than that’s a problem,” said McCabe.

Bruno, 63, a businessman in the entertainment industry, said he’s been getting a lot of calls urging him to run, but that he will wait to see what Quaglione will do because he believes it’s his turn to run.

“What’s holding back lot of great and talented people from running is they don’t want to deal with all the negative politics going around. The political climate needs to change. They have to stop opposition research and negative campaigning. There are competent people that own successful businesses that are not running. None of us are saints in life. We’re not running for Pope, we’re running for public office,” said Bruno.

“The Democrats have certainly banded together as a team like never before. Now, with the impeachment, I see Republicans coming together like never before. People don’t like his [President Trump] Tweets, but nobody can deny the results of the job. The economy is good. It’s the lowest unemployment figures for blacks, Latinos and women so these people are basically against the man for taking care of them,” he added.

Bruno pointed out in the last election he was working the polling sites for Golden on election day and there were dozens and dozens of young well-spoken, well-trained Democrats working the corners outside the polls. The Democrats put $4 million behind the election and they were out there working, said Bruno.

“That was a wake-up call for Republicans. We need to have a serious ground game with serious cash. Republicans are angry about the impeachment. It’s hard to change the black community because they’ve been Democratic for decades, but we have 120,000 registered Republicans in the county and he [Gounardes] won with 31,000 votes,” he added.