As challenger emerges, Gounardes gets set to launch re-election bid

BAY RIDGE – Democratic State Sen. Andrew Gounardes, whose win over Republican Marty Golden in 2018 marked a sea change in Southwest Brooklyn politics, is set to launch his bid for a second term this weekend as a Republican challenger emerged to take him on.

Gounardes will officially announce his intention to run for re-election at an event on Sunday, Feb. 23, at the Brooklyn Firefly, 7003 Third Ave., at 3 p.m., where he is expected to be greeted by an enthusiastic crowd of supporters and campaign volunteers.

Brooklyn Republican Party leaders met on Feb. 20 and nominated Vito Bruno, a businessman and music impresario, to run for State Senate against Gounardes.

Bruno ran for borough president in 2017 and lost to incumbent Democrat Eric Adams.

Gounardes said he’s eager to get out of the starting gate. “I can’t wait to kick off this campaign and work together to keep fighting on the issues that matter!” he told the Home Reporter.

“I ran on a platform of a new kind of politics and a government that works for all of us,” Gounardes said. “I’m proud of all I’ve delivered on. Last year, we had one of the most productive sessions in modern New York history, passing landmark laws to protect victims of child sexual assault, fix a broken MTA, establish the most far-reaching tenant protections ever and expand the life-saving school zone speed camera.”

Gounardes was the main sponsor of the legislation that increased the number of speed cameras in New York City school zones.

“But there’s much more to do — finally taking action to make our property tax system more fair, continuing the work for safer streets, keeping up the fight for a transit system that works and fully funding our public colleges,” he said.

Gounardes represents the 22nd Senate District, a seat he won two years ago by defeating longtime incumbent Golden, who had been in office for 16 years. The expansive district takes in a wide swath of Southwest Brooklyn and includes parts of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach.

Bruno owns AM/PM Entertainment Concepts, a company that books concerts and produces events for superstars like Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears. A graduate of Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture, he also spent several years working for architectural firms and served as a house designer for Hilton International.

Supporters of both candidates are gearing up for the campaign.

The Bay Ridge Democrats club, which voted unanimously to endorse Gounardes last week, sent out an email announcement calling on volunteers to help out with collecting petition signatures to get his name on the ballot.

“It’s time to turn out,” club leaders wrote in the email.

Bruno won praise from Liam McCabe, president of the Verrazano Republican Club in Bay Ridge. McCabe had flirted with the idea of running for the State Senate seat but decided against it.

McCabe said he is fully behind Bruno. “We are united in bringing back common sense to our community!” McCabe wrote on Facebook.

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