BY HELEN KLEIN, JOHN ALEXANDER, JAIME DEJESUS, PAULA KATINAS & MEAGHAN MCGOLDRICK
Claiming victory in the Sept. 13 Democratic state Senate primary, Democrat Andrew Gounardes is heading toward a showdown with incumbent Republican state Sen. Marty Golden on Nov. 6.
Gounardes, an attorney now serving as counsel to Borough President Eric Adams, handily defeated journalist Ross Barkan, who ran to his left, in the Democratic primary in the 22nd S.D., which encompasses Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Manhattan Beach, Gerritsen Beach, Marine Park and Sheepshead Bay.
Gounardes, who ran against Golden six years ago, declared victory in front of cheering supporters in the back room at Firefly, 7003 Third Ave.
“I am so proud to be our Democratic nominee for state Senate in the 22nd district,” he told the crowd. “Tomorrow we’re going to wake up and we have 52 days until our election. And don’t believe what anyone says. Over the next 52 days, we are going run a camp to transform southern Brooklyn, take this seat back and take the state Senate back.”
While the crowd briefly chanted “down with Marty,” Gounardes reminded them what the goal of the campaign was.
“What we’re fighting for in this campaign isn’t just bragging rights,” he said. “It’s not just another notch on a belt. What we are fighting for is to make real improvements in everyday people’s lives.”
Gounardes boasted such priorities as education, safe streets, mass transit, and for a society “in which people do not have to sell cupcakes to pay for their cancer treatments,” or hold down “two to three jobs to provide for their families. That’s why we’re going to win this November.”
Barkan conceded shortly before 10 p.m. Unofficial results have Gounardes with 57.9 percent of the vote (8,551) and Barkan with 42.1 percent (6,229).
He told supporters, “This wasn’t about a campaign. It wasn’t about a victory because that’s not who we are. We were here to bring a movement, to bring people together, to fight for issues we care about. We never compromised our values. We never compromised our vision. We stood up to an establishment that never wanted us to win. While the establishment won this round, that doesn’t mean we all disappear. It doesn’t mean we don’t stop working. It doesn’t mean we don’t stop fighting.”
Golden first won his state Senate seat in 2002.
In the race for the Democratic nomination in the 46th Assembly District, which includes Bath Beach, Bay Ridge, Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Dyker Heights and Seagate, grassroots community activist Mathylde Frontus was leading at 11:55 p.m. by a narrow margin of 51 percent (3,030 votes) over Ethan Lustig-Elgrably’s 49 percent (2,915 votes) with 71 out of 84 precincts in the 46th A.D. reporting, according to unofficial results
Given the closeness of the race, neither candidate has issued a statement of victory or concession.
Frontus told this paper, “I’m so proud to be part of this community. Right now we are in the lead and we need to win. The momentum in this room is palpable. The people of the 46th district are some of the smartest and kindest people who’ve brought so much to this race. Now we are just here waiting to see how the story ends.”
Lustig-Elgrably is a former staffer for Councilmember Mark Treyger, who backed him strongly and brought a great deal of party support to his candidacy.
Just after 11 p.m., Lustig-Elgrably issued a statement punting any declaration of loss or victory to a future date.
“It is clear that this election is too close to call tonight with so many absentee and affidavit ballots left to be counted,” he said. “The most important thing now is to make sure that every vote is counted. I am proud of the work of my campaign and am confident that we will be victorious after all of the votes are tallied.”
He spoke similarly to supporters. “We Are not done yet,” he told a group of about 50 of them who had gathered at Tom’s at Coney Island to watch the election returns on television screens while munching on hot dogs.
“We are not done yet with a number of polling sites. We are going to wait until every vote is counted. We feel good. It’s too close to call,” he said.
“I’m very proud of the campaign we ran,” he added.
Lustig-Elgrably thanked several supporters who went door to door for him and made phone calls for him.
He then thanked Treyger, who was standing beside him, calling the councilmember a mentor.
Dilia Schack, Democratic district leader of the 46th Assembly District, said, “We gave it our best shot.”
Of Lustig-Elgrably, Schack said, “This young man will be representing us at some point.”
Treyger said he was awaiting the results from Trump Village and Warbasse Houses which had not yet come in at 11 pm.
But at 11:15, the restaurant was clearing out.
Frontus and Lustig-Elgrably have been vying for the Democratic nomination to succeed former Assemblymember Pamela Harris, who stepped down earlier this year, after being charged with defrauding various government entities of tens of thousands of dollars in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Harris pleaded guilty in June to wire fraud, making false statements to FEMA and witness tampering in connection.
Harris’s predecessor, Alec Brook-Krasny, also has legal troubles. After stepping down in 2015 to take a job in the private sector, he was subsequently indicted in connection with a sting operation targeting three Brooklyn medical clinics that investigators allege were “pill mills” which illegally prescribed opioid painkillers while also fraudulently billing Medicare and Medicaid for millions of dollars worth of unnecessary medical tests, physical therapy and psychiatric services.
The winner of the Democratic primary in the 46th A.D. will face Republican Steve Saperstein in November.