Here’s the latest on the battle for Daniel Squadron’s former 26th Senate District seat.
Lower East Side District Leader Paul Newell was victorious this afternoon in capturing 72% of the weighted vote from the Manhattan Democratic Committee. His main rival, State Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, came in second with nearly 28%. But Kavanagh appears to have the upper hand because he has the support of party bosses in Brooklyn, and the backing of the statewide Democratic Party establishment.
Today’s vote of local members of the County Committee was merely an advisory opinion. The real decision will be made tomorrow by the heads of the Democratic Party in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Over the weekend, Brooklyn Democratic Leader Frank Seddio announced his support for Kavanagh. After today’s vote, Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, former Sen. Squadron and many others backed Kavanagh, as well. Lower Manhattan Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou announced her support for Kavanagh this morning.
In contrast to Manhattan, where a vote was held, Brooklyn Democrats weren’t given an opportunity to take part in choosing the nominee in the 26th Senate District. Seddio acted unilaterally.
After the vote, Newell told us, “We obviously won the room overwhelmingly. These were the only people who got to vote. Legally (Manhattan Democratic party boss) Keith Wright has the option to go with Kavanagh or anyone else. No Manhattan leader has gone against the vote of a county committee since Carmine DeSapio under Tammany Hall. I think Keith Wright will do the right thing and not allow the Brooklyn closed system to outweigh what was a clear decision by the grassroots activists in Manhattan.”
Kavanagh, however, said, “We have 53% of the vote for the entire Senate district (Manhattan + Brooklyn) and we believe that is enough to be the Democratic nominee in November.” Asked about concerns that the process is undemocratic, Kavanagh explained, “The gold standard for a party choosing its nominee is a primary. Unfortunately, in this case, there was not sufficient time to do a primary… Every party has its rules. The Democratic Party has rules on the books and they followed those rules. Today we have the result and I’m very proud to say I’m the Democratic nominee.”
A third candidate, Alan Gerson, withdrew from the contest during today’s meeting. A total of 97 people voted today, a third of the Manhattan County Committee in the 26th Senate District.
The party must submit its nominee to the Board of Elections on Tuesday.
We’ll have more regarding today’s developments Monday on The Lo-Down.