Central Brooklyn saw several decisive wins in a state primary noted for low-voter turnout and some confusion regarding polling sites post-redistricting. Walter Mosley won handily the open seat vacated by Democratic Congressional candidate Hakeem Jeffries. Nick Perry, Inez Barron and William Boyland, Jr. fought back challengers. Rodneyse Bichotte, Inez Barron, Robert Cornegy and William Boyland won reelection to their respective District Leader positions. Councilman Charles Barron is the newly elected Male District Leader for East New York.
In the 57th AD, Walter Mosley swept Olanike Alabi for the Assembly seat 2-to-1 in a hotly contested race between the two 57th AD District Leaders. “I promise to be your voice in Albany,” Mosley said on election night. “I look forward to working with my sister, Tish James, in City Hall and my brother, Hakeem Jeffries, in Congress. Together, as a progressive trifecta, we will work for you and fight for the 57th Assembly District.” Endorsements from congressman-to-be Hakeem Jeffries who successfully selected his successor and Councilwoman Letitia James were no match for the Alabi campaign. Mosley won with 63% against Alabi (30%) and former DOE Chief Parent Officer Martine Guerrier (7%).
Renee Collymore won the 57th AD Female District Leader seat for the first time after a previous bungled attempt in which elements of her personal life became campaign fodder. “As the new Female District Leader, I promise to work as hard as I can to assist as many groups and individual people as possible. I will always make sure that I am there for you,” Collymore said. “I thank you all because this could not have been done without you.” With 42% of the vote, Collymore beat former union president Faryce “Faye” Moore (28%) and newcomer Wendy Washington (30%). Alabi’s endorsement of Moore for Alabi’s former Female District Leader seat did not help when all momentum went to Mosley and anyone affiliated with his campaign.
Rodneyse Bichotte lost her bid (32-68%) for the 42nd Assembly seat to Rhoda Jacobs who has represented the district since 1978. There have been several attempts to unseat Jacobs over the years in the 85% Haitian/Jamaican district, usually with 2 or more contenders splitting the vote. This year, Bichotte fought for a head-to-head by eliminating a contender whose petitions were deemed fraudulent. Bichotte did retain her Female District Leader seat (66%) against former district leader Mary Hobson (33%), who Bichotte knocked off the ballot 2 years ago. Oddly, Bichotte received more votes for District Leader (2,781) than she did for Assembly (1,778), which would not have overcome Jacobs’ 3,753 votes. If the 42nd AD Haitian majority ever hopes to capture the seat, they will have to learn how to put aside petty divisiveness and consolidate their votes like other groups do.
Nick Perry (58th AD) won reelection by a margin of 2-to-1 after not being challenged for years. Attorney Terry Hinds ran an aggressive campaign, and stepped down from chairing Community Board #17 in order to do so. Una Clarke, matriarch of Brooklyn Caribbean politics, told the crowd at Perry’s victory celebration that though he had not been challenged for several years, she counseled Perry not to worry, “You are going to get some exercise so you remember what it is to campaign.” On primary night Perry was elated, exclaiming, “It’s great to win!” Despite suddenly having what Perry characterized as “some bright, young, adventurous challenger” who boldly located his campaign office directly across the street from Perry’s district office, the assemblyman said, “You can’t win an election against Nick Perry in three months. We are stronger with this victory.” Cory Provost’s second attempt to unseat 58th AD Male District Leader Weyman Carey was successful 54-44%, with the help of Nick Perry, who said that he will personally mentor Provost as part of Brooklyn’s new, young leadership. Melba Brown won reelection to her seat 74-25% against newcomer Pamela Garcia. Provost gave special thanks to “Mr. Perry, who has brought me under his wing”, and Una Clarke for her “guidance, her belief in me and her inspiration.” Perry said, “Cory is a young man with a bright future. He’s going to be mentored. We are going to make good things happen for him. Melba and I have to embrace youth and young people who aspire to public service, and bring them up to be leaders.”
As was widely predicted, indicted 55th Assemblyman William Boyland, Jr. won reelection easily with a mere 37% of the vote against a field of 6 challengers. Tony Herbert (11%) had the most name recognition for his antiviolence and gang mediation work in the streets. Nathan Bradley (12%) is a staffer for state Senator John Sampson and Chair of Community Board #5. Four years ago, he was one of four men who unsuccessfully ran for the Assembly seat that then-first-timer Inez Barron won. It is said Bradley submitted petitions just in case a confluence of legal issues would have prevented Boyland from being on the ballot. (Uncle) Roy Antoine’s umpteenth race garnered 13%. Antoine had no campaign finance filing, at all. Anthony Jones (15%), former driver for Councilwoman Darlene Mealy, somehow teamed up with her campaign for reelection for Female District Leader, which she won by 85% against Maryam Samad (15%). David Miller (6%) thought it was a good idea to repurpose an old beer slogan (It’s Miller’s Time), complete with red eyes on his campaign posters. Twenty-three year old Christopher Durosinmi (5%) simply didn’t have a clue. Boyland also won reelection for Male District Leader with 60% of the vote against a field of three: David Miller (19%), Wesley Hope (13%) and Leonard Hatter (8%).
After spreading themselves too thin in a poorly executed run for congress against Hakeem Jeffries earlier this year, the Barrons have consolidated their power in East New York. Charles Barron won the Male District Leader seat with 58% of the vote. Unseated Earl Williams received 31% and newcomer Kenny McLemore got 10%. Assemblywoman Inez Barron won reelection with 55% of the vote, guaranteeing her third term in a close election (2,847 to 2,280) against Christopher Banks who received 44% of the vote. Inez Barron was also re-elected to Female District Leader with 44% of the vote. Newcomer Nikki Lucas got 32% while former Assemblywoman Diane Gordon lost her comeback bid with 23% of the vote.
Albert Wiltshire, staffer for retiring congressman Ed Towns, challenged 56th AD Male District Leader Robert Cornegy after VIDA chose to endorse Hakeem Jeffries despite a longtime relationship with Towns. Just days before the primary, Wiltshire sent out disrespectful campaign literature asking “What is a Cornegy?” That did not help Wiltshire. Cornegy beat Wiltshire 55-45%, retaining his seat.
The results of the 50th AD Male District Leader race are still undetermined. In a case of “déjà vu all over again”, for the second time reformer Lincoln Restler’s seat will be finalized after a hand-count of 1,000 paper ballots. “This race seemed just about unwinnable, but across the entire district people came out in record numbers for a state committee race,” said Restler. “I am deeply appreciative of the extraordinary volunteer effort that propelled the campaign. Thank you for investing your time, energy and resources in this effort to realize new Brooklyn politics.”