Fresh off his big win over actress Cynthia Nixon in the Democratic primary, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told Brooklyn elected officials and activists that primaries are always difficult because of the divisions they unearth within a political party, but he added that now it’s time for Democrats to unite and work toward victory in the Nov. 6 election.
“Primaries are hard. It is hard to fight within the family,” Cuomo told scores of politicians and Democratic Party district leaders at a post-primary breakfast at the world-famous Junior’s restaurant in downtown Brooklyn hosted by Brooklyn Democratic Party Chairperson Frank Seddio on Monday morning.
Cuomo beat Nixon, a first-time candidate, by more than 30 percentage points in the Democratic primary on Sept. 13.
Cuomo said he was pleased with the large voter turnout, which saw more than a million voters go to the polls. “New Yorkers are smarter than the average bear and this election showed that.” he said. “We’re going to go forward from here.”
The governor, who is seeking a third term, will face Republican Marc Molinaro in November.
In his introduction of Cuomo, Seddio praised the governor’s leadership skills. “Let’s talk about governing, which a lot of people never understand. You have to know how to administer,” Seddio said.
Cuomo, in turn, paid tribute to Seddio, the man who leads Democratic soldiers in Brooklyn into battle in elections. “Frank Seddio has forgotten more about politics than I will ever know,” the governor said.
Seddio has a reputation as a brilliant political tactician.
Democrats from all over the borough came to Junior’s to eat eggs, French toast and bacon with Seddio, and to rub elbows with party leaders.
Among the famous faces at the event were Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, state Senators Diane Savino and Roxanne Persaud, Assemblymembers Felix Ortiz, Jesse Hamilton, Rodneyse Bichotte, Jaime Williams, Maritza Davila, Latrice Walker, Nick Perry and Robert Carroll, and City Councilmembers Justin Brannan, Brad Lander, Robert Cornegy, Jumaane Williams and Kalman Yeger, and former Councilmembers Vincent Gentile and Domenic Recchia.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and former Borough President Marty Markowitz were also at Junior’s that morning.
Seddio hosts the breakfast each year to bring the party together after the divisions of the primary season.
This year saw particular upheaval in Brooklyn Democratic politics, as two incumbents, State Senators Martin Dilan and Jesse Hamilton, went down to defeat last week at the hands of younger opponents.
Dilan, who represents Bushwick, Williamsburg and parts of North Brooklyn was beaten by newcomer Julia Salazar. Hamilton, whose district includes Crown Heights, lost to Zellnor Myrie.
Seddio said the party will go all in to help Democrat Andrew Gounardes in his race against Republican incumbent state Sen. Marty Golden. Golden, who represents Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and parts of Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach, is the only Republican state senator in Brooklyn.
Public Advocate Letitia James, who won the primary for state attorney general, also touched on the theme of unity that Cuomo and Seddio tried to convey.
“We’ve got to make sure we heal the divide. We need everyone under this big tent. We’re Democrats and we believe in something bigger than ourselves,” James said.
Hochul, who defeated Councilmember Jumaane Williams in the primary for lieutenant governor, expressed confidence that the party could come together. “We were splintered, but for a very short time,” she said.
She and Seddio shared a laugh during his introduction of her. “We gave 90,000 votes to this young lady,” Seddio said, referring to the number of votes Hochul earned in Brooklyn in the primary. “Actually Frank, it was 95,800,” Hochul said with a smile.