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Party Bosses Appear to Coalesce Around Brian Kavanagh For Squadron Senate Seat

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Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh.
Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh.

State Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh has received a big boost in securing the Democratic nomination for Daniel Squadron’s former State Senate seat. Party bosses are signaling they have settled on the Albany insider — just hours before party activists convene in Lower Manhattan to vote.

Last night, Brooklyn Democratic Leader Frank Seddio announced that Kings County Democratic leaders were throwing their support behind Kavanagh for the 26th Senate District seat. In a press release, Seddio said:

Brian Kavanagh has impressed his Brooklyn Assembly colleagues with his commitment to making government work for those who need it, whether mass transit riders, those who come in contact with our criminal justice system or tenants struggling to remain in their homes and their neighborhoods… When Democrats finally get together to take control of the chamber, we are confident he will serve his Brooklyn constituents effectively and progressively with honor and dignity.

Kavanagh is one of five candidates vying for the nomination. The district includes most of Lower Manhattan and sections of the Brooklyn waterfront. In recent weeks, another candidate, Paul Newell, had won endorsements from Manhattan political clubs, including Downtown Independent Democrats, Lower East Side Democrats and a new organization, Grand Street Democrats. He was expected to be in a strong position if members of the local county committee were allowed to vote at today’s meeting and to control the process.

Yesterday, however, we began to hear rumblings that Manhattan Democratic Party boss Keith Wright intended to influence the selection of a nominee for the Nov. 7 general election, and that he had settled on Kavanagh. Then leaders of several local political organizations made public a letter sent to Wright:

We write to you regarding the upcoming special election to fill the vacancy in the 26th State Senate District. We ask you to commit to fully supporting the candidate who receives a majority of the weighted vote of all voting Democratic County Committee members for the 26th Senate District. The Manhattan Democratic Party is a shining beacon of reform; we hope you will continue to honor our proud tradition of openness as you lead our nomination process in the 26th State Senate District.

Among those signing the letter were district leaders in the 65th. 66th and 76th Assembly districts.

Meanwhile, the press release from the Brooklyn Democratic Party included endorsements from U.S. Congressman Hakim Jeffries, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Assembly members Joe Lentol, Maritza Davila and Walter Mosley. Locally, Kavanagh received the backing of CoDA, an East Village-based political club. He currently represents the 74th Assembly District.

Other candidates for the nomination include former City Council member Alan Gerson, LMCC executive Diego Segalini and former Brooklyn prosecutor Eileen Naples.

We’ll have more following this afternoon’s meeting.

UPDATE 9:23 a.m. This morning, Paul Newell announced another endorsement, that of the Brooklyn reform organization, New Kings Democrats. In an email blast, he encouraged supporters to show up at today’s meeting. It takes place at 2 p.m. at the offices of the United Federation of Teachers, 52 Broadway.


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