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Blue Wave Washes Ashore in Southwest Brooklyn

BY HELEN KLEIN, JOHN ALEXANDER, JAIME DEJESUS, AMANDA GLODOWSKI, PAULA KATINAS & MEAGHAN MCGOLDRICK

A blue wave certainly appears to have washed over southwest Brooklyn, bringing with it victory for Democrats in heavily contested races.

In what can easily be viewed as the end of an era, Andrew Gounardes appears to have defeated long-time state Sen. Marty Golden, who was first elected in 2002, after serving in the City Council for four years, beginning in 1998.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, according to unofficial results, Gounardes appeared to have won 50.9 percent of the vote (31,168), with Golden — who has been at the center of a variety of controversies, including dust-ups over speed cameras in school zones and, most recently, a flap over the fact that one of his campaign staffers had invited the leader of the Proud Boys, an alt right group, to speak at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Republican Club — receiving 49.1 percent (30,039).

Machine problems seem to have delayed the completion of the count, said former Councilmember Vincent Gentile, speaking to Gounardes supporters gathered at Cebu, 8801 Third Ave. “We’re feeling good. Andrew is feeling good,” Gentile said. “Thank you to all of you. Without you, this night would not be possible.”

At Cebu, the celebration was for the results of democracy. “There’s a new boss in town,” Councilmember Justin Brannan remarked. “The boss is not me or Max or Andrew. The boss is you, the people, the people that made this happen. The power is back in your hands. You spoke loud and clear today, and you elected Andrew Gounardes as your state senator.”

Gounardes, when it was his turn to speak, concurred. “The victory is not my victory. It is our victory. It’s our community’s victory,” he told the crowd. “We are going to have leadership in south Brooklyn that speaks for our community

Gentile, whom Golden defeated in another hard-fought state Senate race, and who later won Golden’s vacated seat on the City Council, clearly was enjoying the moment. “We will do to Marty Golden what he did to us, 16 years ago,” he told the crowd.

ebrooklyn media/Photo by Meaghan McGoldrick

Despite the fact that he is trailing, Golden did not concede when he spoke to supporters, though his remarks to those at the Bay Ridge Manor, 476 76th Street, had a valedictory tone.

“We believe we have the opportunity to put this out. There are 3,000 paper ballots out there,” he told the crowd, adding, “I have had the ability to have a great life,” as he mentioned his wife Colleen and their sons, Michael and Patrick.

“We are not done,” he reiterated, to cheers from the crowd. “We have a way to go.”

There was no uncertainty in the congressional race. Max Rose, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, defeated the incumbent Republican, Rep. Dan Donovan, in the 11th Congressional District that includes all of Staten Island and a swath of Brooklyn from Bay Ridge to Gravesend.

In a district with more registered Democrats than Republicans that yet went for Trump in 2016, Rose combined a compelling message with a lot of good, old-fashioned hard work to eke out a victory, ousting the Republican — who won the seat in a special election in May, 2015 after its former occupant, Michael Grimm, pleaded guilty to tax fraud.

Donovan triumphed resoundingly over Grimm, who attempted to make a comeback this year, but fell short in this November contest, in which the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) took an active role, targeting the race as part of its Red-to-Blue campaign.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial results had Rose with 52.6 percent of the vote (93,762) and Donovan with 47.1 percent (83,925). The Green Party candidate, Henry Bardel, had .4 percent of the vote (677).

Speaking to supporters at the Vanderbilt at South Beach, 300 Father Capodanno Blvd. in Staten Island, Rose said, “462 days ago, we launched this campaign to do things differently. We weren’t just trying to win votes in Staten Island and South Brooklyn. We were trying to earn people’s trust. We wanted to show the country that you don’t need special interests, you don’t need lobbyists. You just need the people. In fact, they can keep their damn money.

“We were never in this to win an election,” he went on. “We were in this to change politics irrevocably.”

Donovan conceded just after 10 p.m., telling supporters at Prive, 813 Annadale Rd. in Staten Island, “I just got off the phone with Max Rose and I asked him to do a good job for my family and yours. And he promised me that he would. So I congratulated him on a hard-fought victory. But it has been an amazing ride. For the last 22 years, my entire adult life, it’s been an honor and a privilege and something I will never forget. And I will never forget you for giving me this opportunity. I look at this as the end of something I’ve enjoyed very much.”

Democrats also snagged the vacant seat in the 46th Assembly District, which runs from Coney Island to Bay Ridge, with first-time candidate Mathylde Frontus winning over the Republican, Steve Saperstein. Both were vying to succeed disgraced former Assemblymember Pam Harris, who resigned earlier this year after being indicted on a laundry list of charges stemming from fraud that occurred in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

With 97.62 percent of the vote tallied, unofficial results showed Frontus getting 53.8 percent of the vote (13.018), with Saperstein getting 43.7 percent (10,574). Ethan Lustig-Elgrably, who lost the Democratic primary to Frontus, but had previously won the Working Families Party line, got 1.5 percent (370) and Green Party candidate Patrick Dwyer got 1.1 percent (255).

“This is about people power. This is about what we are able to do together as a community,” Frontus told the crowd gathered at the Red Doors Bar and Grill, 1205 Surf Ave.

“For the past 100 years, we have been fighting about who gets to sit at the table,” she went on. “Is there room for everyone at the table? Yes, and when we aren’t invited to the table, no problem. We’ll bring our own table.”

Saperstein conceded, telling supporters at the Bay Ridge Manor, “We got over 10,000 votes. I want to thank my team for knocking on doors. We fell short. But I want everyone to know that we have just begun. I don’t want people to leave this room in a bad mood. We didn’t do it this time. But we will be back.”

One Republican who retained her post was Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, whose 64th A.D. spans portions of Staten Island and Bay Ridge. WIth 100 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial results showed Malliotakis with 60.8 percent of the vote (19,606), and her Democratic opponent, Adam Baumel, with 39.2 percent (12,656).

That was the only bright spot in local races for the Republicans and Conservatives. “We had a tough night,” acknowledged Mike Long, the chair of the New York State Conservative Party.

Turnout was heavy across the city in the Nov. 6 election, with voters in many polling places reporting long waits and technical problems.

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