Jo Anne Simon eyes Brooklyn borough presidency race

Jo Anne Simon

Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon (D-Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, Park Slope, Boerum Hill, DUMBO) confirmed Thursday that she is getting serious about running for borough president next year as Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is term-limited.

“I am exploring it and will be making a decision soon,” Simon told KCP.

Simon’s comment came after several sources confirmed to KCP that both Simon and supporters, including former Assemblyman James Brennan, were making calls around to elected officials and political powerbrokers testing the waters and seeking their support on Simon’s behalf.

Jo Anne Simon
Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon
Rodneyse Bichotte
Kings County Democratic Party Chair and Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte

Supporters of Simon and political powerbrokers say that should Simon run she could be a formidable candidate. Among the support she is seeking is from the Kings County Democratic Party organization and its chair Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Flatbush, Ditmas Park).

Bichotte did not return calls at post time, but sources say Simon and Bichotte have a very good relationship. Bichotte also enjoys a very good relationship with Mayor Bill de Blasio, and would likely support his wife, Chirlane McCray, if she decides to run, but this is appearing less likely as de Blasio’s popularity has been plummeting.

Bichotte and county leaders are also looking at City Councilmember Robert Cornegy Jr. (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights), who has raised the most money thus far for the position, but several powerbrokers say there are questions as to whether he will stay in the race.

Supporters of Simon also point out the lawmaker has an excellent relationship with State Attorney General Letitia James (who is from and lives in Brooklyn), State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Central Brooklyn) and Assemblywoman Diana Richardson (D-Crown Heights, Flatbush, Prospect Lefferts Gardens) and others throughout Central and South Brooklyn.

Simon’s district is considered a wealthier progressive white area of Brownstone Brooklyn, and her seeking county support might cost her some young progressives within her district, but county support would go a lot further, sources say.

Antonio Reynoso
City Council Member Antonio Reynoso

Simon also has a good relationship with U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn, Queens, Lower Manhattan), but may not get her support as Velazquez is also very close to City Councilmember Antonio Reynoso (D-Greenpoint, Williamsburg), who is also running for the seat and will likely get the support of both young progressives and possibly the Democratic Socialists of America.

Meanwhile, Reynoso announced Thursday that Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, State Senator Julia Salazar (D-Bushwick, Williamsburg, Bed-Stuy, East New York), Assemblymember Maritza Davila (D-Bushwick, Williamsburg), and others have endorsed him for borough president.

“These are tough times for New York City’s best borough. Between the pandemic, a reeling economy, systemic racism, and a continued assault from the White House on our values – everything we hold dear is under attack. But Brooklyn’s diversity, creativity, and grit give us strength. To have the support of such fearless, progressive leaders from across our borough is inspiring and energizing, and I’m ready to take Brooklyn to the next level,” said Reynoso. 

“Brooklyn needs a Borough President who is a fierce champion for working people and social justice – the times we are living in demand nothing less. That’s why I’m supporting Antonio Reynoso. I’ve been with Antonio in the political trenches, when it was tough and powerful leaders were pushing back; and he always kept his word, standing strong to lift up all communities to make our city a better place for everyone. We’ve fought together to address systemic racism and to demand income-targeted, affordable housing, better policing and safer streets. I’m excited to stand with him as he runs to make Brooklyn the absolute best it can be,” said Williams, in a statement.

Also looking to move into Brooklyn Borough Hall is City Councilman Mathieu Eugene (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Prospect Lefferts Garden) and Brookdale Hospital executive Khari Edwards.

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