You’ve heard of “Million Dollar Baby”? Well, meet Democratic District Leader candidate Hope “The Moose” Reichbach — Brooklyn’s $20,000 baby.
The scrappy Reichbach was poised to raise that number on Wednesday night by merging political science and the sweet science during a fund-raiser/exhibition boxing match at the famed Gleason’s Gym in DUMBO.
“I’ve trained at Gleason’s Gym for over nine years now,” said Reichbach, whose vying to unseat Jo Anne Simon as female district leader in Brownstone Brooklyn and DUMBO’s 52nd Assembly district this September. “In one of my college entrance essays, I wrote about how I both boxed and was the captain of the debate team and how the two are intrinsicly linked.”
We’re not sure if Hope ever pummelled an opponent during a heated back and forth about nuclear energy, but she’s certainly prepared to mix it up with Phil “The Judge” Maier during the title card sparring match as potential political donors size her up.
At 115 pounds — which puts her somewhere in the junior bantam weight class — the 21-year-old Reichbach may not appear to be a match to the 160-pound Maier.
Yet Hope’s has it where it counts, said David Lawrence, a poet and “white collar boxer” who’s trained Reichbach since her teens.
“Hope has fairly heavy fists and she throws them from every angle,” explained Lawrence. “She swamps her opponent.”
Just like a Moose — the nickname Lawrence gave her — Reichbach refrains from dancing around the ring, Lawrence explains. It’s something she doesn’t have in common with other borough politicos.
Then, when you least expect it, she shoots out a sneaky uppercut or an overhand right -- her two signature moves.
“I don’t think she’s knocked anyone out, but she’s a brawler at heart,” Lawrence said. “I wouldn’t want to turn on her dark side. You don’t want to see the Moose rise up.”
Reichbach has to keep her Moose in check pretty often, especially when she’s linked to another political brawler — the often maligned assemblyman and Brooklyn Democratic Boss Vito Lopez (D-Williamsburg). Then there are those days on the campaign trail when she has to constantly explain to voters what a district leader — the obscure, unpaid, rarely challenged party official responsible for gathering other candidates’ nominating positions, hire Election Day poll workers and vote for the county leader — even does.
“I speak to between 100 and 150 people a week about the campaign and maybe one knows what a district leader is,” she said. “People are pretty surprised that I’m running for a volunteer position. It’s definitely been an education.”
So is boxing, which she says has taught her to think on her feet.
“It teaches you how to take a punch and keep on sparring,” she said.
If that’s not politics, we don’t know what is.
The fundraiser will be held at Gleason’s Gym [77 Front St. between Main and Washington streets in DUMBO, (718) 797-2872] tonight at 6:30 pm. Guests will be asked to donate anywhere from $35 (Amateur Boxer class) to $1,000 (World Champion class).