Hamilton Makes it Official, Challenges Richardson for Assembly Seat

Former State Sen. Jesse Hamilton made it official today that he is challenging Assemblywoman Diana Richardson (D-Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens) in the Democratic Party primary next month for the 43rd Assembly District seat.

Former State Sen. Jesse Hamilton
Assemblywoman Diana Richardson

“It would be an honor to serve the community that my family and I have called home for over 25 years. I am running because we are in a crisis in New York and there is a need to provide immediate assistance to our communities most at risk,” said Hamilton.

In announcing he is running, Hamilton noted his past accomplishments as a lawmaker and in his 20-plus years in public service.

“We passed Raise the Age getting 16 and 17-year-old youths off Rikers Island, we launched Brooklyn’s first Senior Games in 2016. With the grace of Carmen Ojeda and Michael Angelo, we passed Briana’s Law, which requires police officers to receive CPR training. In 2017 we created The Campus, the nation’s first technology and wellness hub for youth. We worked tirelessly so the tenants of 265 Hawthorne Street could become homeowners by buying their apartments for $2,500,” he said.

“My passion and knowledge plus my proven experience as a community lawyer and activist position me to be the best candidate to move our community forward during this crisis. This is why I am excited for the opportunity to run for the State Assembly,” he said.

Hamilton lost his senate seat two years ago to State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) in a ruggedly fought primary contest, in which Hamilton narrowly won the 43d Assembly part of the senate district.

Hamilton’s loss to Myrie was largely due to Hamilton’s decision to join the breakaway State Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), which caucused separately from the other Democratic members of the State Senate from January 2011 to April 2018.

The IDC membership also led to a large turnout of mainly white progressives in the primary who voted overwhelmingly for Myrie in the white part of the senate district. However, while Hamilton carried the black part of the district, it was Richardson’s staunch support of Myrie that helped make the vote closer in the black part of the district, leading some to think that was the difference between winning and losing.

While Hamilton still enjoys strong support in the district, including from female Democratic District Leader, Shirley Patterson and members from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams‘ office, opposing voters are likely to be just as fierce.

Richardson has a strong base, is highly charismatic and supporters like her ‘take no prisoner’approach to politics. Expect Myrie, progressives, the Working Families Party and a number of mainstream Democrats still miffed at Hamilton’s joining of the IDC to come out in support of Richardson.

Her supporters are likely to include among others, U.S. Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke, and State Sen. Kevin Parker. As KCP noted in a previous story, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has already endorsed Richardson.

Additionally, some electeds who like Hamilton may decide to sit this race out rather than get involved in a proxy battle between strong Central Brooklyn political forces.

Richardson did not return inquiries from KCP in time for this post.

The primary is June 23.

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