At Witt’s End: GOP runs strong in South Brooklyn

Chang, Abbate Debate
Lester Chang, left, and Assemblyman Peter Abbate, right, at the recent Dyker Heights Civic Association debate. Photo from Facebook
Stephen Witt

Either 11th Congressional District Democratic Party candidate Max Rose is running scared or his campaign strategy of dodging last week’s Dyker Heights Civic Association (DHCA) debate is a serious misstep. 

Ditto for other Democrats who failed to show up for the multi-debate night including incumbent state Senator Andrew Gounardes (26th District), and Senatorial candidate Iwen Chu (17th District).

Meanwhile, their Republican opponents including incumbent U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis and GOP senatorial candidates Brian Fox and Vito LaBello all showed up to make their case on why they should be elected.

“I’ve been president of the association for almost 30 years and every election year we’ve always hosted local debates, even during COVID,” said DHCA President Fran Vella-Marrone.

Among those Democratic incumbent candidates who did show up for the verbal jousting match, much to their credit, was 46th District Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus and 49th District Assemblyman Peter Abbate.

Facing off against them and showing up were Lester Chang against Abbate and Alec Brook-Krasny against Frontus. 

Brooklyn Republican Party Chair Ted Ghorra is feeling really good about the Republican chances in the election not only in statewide but local races as well.

“Obviously, each district has its own little nuanced issues that are more granular and in the weeds, but largely, what’s driving voters and their complete irritation with the state of affairs in New York City and New York State are kitchen table issues,” said Ghorra.

“It’s crime, it’s inflation. Its dirty streets. Its grocery store prices, gas prices, the subways are not safe, where kids are looking over their shoulders when they go to school. It’s hate crimes. And a lot of this is falling under the umbrella of cashless bail, who all the Democrats voted for unanimously as part of the budget. We went too far. Things are upside down. The judges don’t know how to administer these laws because they’re just so convoluted and so messed up. I mean, when the Daily News [which is a Democratic paper] is writing about rampant crime in Bay Ridge, for God’s sake, you know that there’s a problem.”

Ghorra said in the 46th District Race, Brook-Krasny, a former assembly member, has a long history of being big on constituent services. Frontus, on the other hand has not had her Bay Ridge office open for nearly two months because she had a broken window, he said.

Ghorra said Chang absolutely stands up for school choice and vouchers and expansion of charter schools. 

“Peter [Abbate] said at the debate flat out that he’s proud of the fact that there’s no expansion of charter schools. And you know, he doesn’t support school vouchers or tax credits for people who are not in the public school system. Even though charter schools are actually public schools, right. So there’s so many stark differences,” said Ghorra.

Note, this column is not an endorsement of Republicans. It is a contrarian view outside the sad state of the NYC media echo chamber, in which beliefs are amplified or reinforced by communication and repetition inside a closed system and insulated from rebuttal.

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