Deutsch Entry Into Congressional Race Could Signal Problem For Clarke

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch

It’s rare that someone can enter a Congressional race against an incumbent and immediately be seen as the person to beat, but one look at the district lines and the current competition and City Councilman Chaim Deutch (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Homecrest, Marine Park, Midwood) has got to like his chances.

Deutsch yesterday made official through a Twitter announcement what has long been rumored – that he is entering the New York’s 9th Congressional District Democratic Primary race.

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch
U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke

“I am excited to announce my candidacy for United States Congress in NY-9. Public service is in my blood – it is how I was raised and it is how I have lived my life. For the past six years, it has been my honor to represent the 48th district in the City Council, one of the most diverse districts in NYC, advocating for my constituents every single day. It is with this simple spirit & passion that I pursue this new opportunity in Congress,” Deutsch wrote on Twitter.

Deutsch enters a fairly crowded field in the primary that includes incumbent U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Prospect Lefferts Gardens), Adem Bunkeddeko, who narrowly lost to Clarke in 2018 and Isiah James.

Besides being the only white conservative Democratic candidate in the race in a district that is roughly 50 percent black, much of Deutsch’s city council district is in Clarke’s Congressional district including the Orthodox Jewish heavy neighborhoods of Midwood and Marine Park. 

Additionally, Sheepshead Bay, Gerretsen Beach and Homecrest are more conservative Democratic neighborhoods, who may not like President Donald Trump’s rhetoric, but see some positives in his policies and are turned off by the current Democratic partisanship and politicization of the impeachment drama now consuming Washington.

Even outside of Deutsch’s council district there are parts of the Congressional district that will likely be primed to vote for Deutsch including Orthodox Jewish areas of Crown Heights, Flatbush and Kensington.

Deutsch may also receive some help from Brooklyn Democratic Party Lady Boss Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, and her protege, City Councilwoman Farah Louis (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, Marine Park, Midwood), who have formed a political alliance with Orthodox Jews in the district and have strong influence on the Flatbush/East Flatbush Haitian-American voting block. While Bichotte and Louis may not openly support Deutsch, they are unlikely to work hard to bring the vote out against him.

Lastly, Deutsch is a known political entity in the district who works extremely hard, particularly on constituent services.

Deutsch, who chairs the city’s Veterans Committee, told KCP yesterday that he is continuing to work on some city council issues. This includes his plans to create senior housing on a city-owned parking lot in Brighton Beach.

Deutsch said he also continues to work hard on veterans and immigration issues. “A lot of people come to my office with immigration issues. It’s a very important issue in the district,” he said.

The Primary is slated for Tuesday, June 23.