The hunt is on for new representation in 64th Assembly District covering Bay Ridge and Staten Island as its current holder, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R) is vacating the seat to challenge U.S. Rep, Max Rose (D-Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island) and the chance to go to Washington.
So far three candidates have answered that call: Former Richmond County Assistant District Attorney Michael Tannousis and U.S Marine Marko Kepi – both Republicans and Democratic hopeful Brandon Patterson.
Kepi, a former aide to State Senator Marty Golden, leads with the biggest campaign war chest about $125,000. Tannousis’ campaign is a close second with over $101,000, and Patterson’s campaign raised just over $45,000 in contributions, according to the State Board of Elections website.
“I am extremely grateful for the generosity and outpouring of support my friends and neighbors have blessed me with and I will not let them down as their next Assemblyman,” said Kepi in a press release about his campaign.
As a life-long Republican and Albanian immigrant, he attracts a lot of support from the Staten Island and Brooklyn communities.
The only other Republican rival for the assembly seat has a similar stance.
“Bay Ridge and Staten Islanders aren’t getting their fair share. I’m running to fight against these laws from Albany, to protect residents, and ensure their quality of life,” said Tannousis.
A Staten-Island native and proud Greek immigrant, Tannousis, resigned as a prosecutor to run for office. Two of the issues he plans to address with his campaign are property rights for homeowners and inadequate transportation in both Bay Ridge and Staten Island. “The Staten Island Railway is above ground and has only one line. If you don’t live close to it, there are always delays,” he said.
Tannousis has been endorsed by the Richmond County Republican Committee, Staten Island and Brooklyn Conservative Parties.
He is also leaning heavily against the current bail reform law, which ended the cash bail system and states low-level defendants are to be released.
“I was a prosecutor for years and during that time I fought for victims of violence and fought to keep people safe,” said Tannousis. “These laws need to be repealed. We’ve seen defendants released, and people need to realize that we have judges for a reason.”
Patterson, running as a more centrist traditional blue-collar Democrat, acknowledged that his comprehensive plan would include a revision to bail reform laws as opposed to a reversal.
“I think that they are going to take a look at it again and see what’s wrong. I’m a candidate who can have that discussion, and talk about hate crimes and repeat offenders,” said Patterson. “There are Democrats I don’t agree with but I’ll be in the room to tell them that. There’s no Republican or Democrat way to fill a pothole, you know.”
Patterson has multiple endorsements from unions and working-class organizations.
He maintains that it’s not just about who can out conservative other conservatives, but really connect with the community on issues they care about that is important.