Entrenched warfare

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It’s a win-lose situation!

Two Bensonhurst Republicans are battling each other to earn the right to lose to Assemblyman Peter Abbate (D-Bensonhurst) in November.

The race pits businesswoman Lucretia Regina-Potter, who is fighting for her third chance to lose to the entrenched 12-term incumbent, against college student Peter Cipriano, who is backed by two Kings County GOP bigwigs.

But, the battle is not simply a quixotic tilt at Bensonhurst windmills. Rather, say party insiders, the primary struggle is actually the latest installment in a long-running feud between two factions of the party that have been squabbling for years.

On one side are Regina-Potter, who is a Republican district leader in the area, her co-leader Fred Martorell and Arnaldo Ferraro, the president of the LaGuardia Republican Club.

The trio are staunch opponents of Kings County GOP Chairman Craig Eaton, whose leadership of the party Ferraro unsuccessfully challenged last year, and are also at odds with state Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge) — so much so that, in 2001, Ferraro backed Golden’s Democratic opponent, Joanne Seminara, in that year’s City Council race.

So, sources say, it’s no surprise that Eaton and Golden would put up their own candidate to try to knock Regina-Potter out of the box, as part of an effort to clean house in the district and install their own people, even before GOP district leadership races are held next year.

Ferraro, Regina-Potter and Martorell “challenge everything county does, or they just ignore it,” explained one pundit. “This year, they refused to carry Marty Golden’s petitions.”

That’s reason enough for Golden and Eaton to try to declaw them, the source went on, and the assembly race provides what one might consider a golden opportunity for just that, since losing a primary to an inexperienced 21-year-old would significantly weaken both Regina-Potter and her backers.

Another insider agreed.

“Cipriano’s a willing tool in their plan to undermine Lucretia,” the source said. “They are setting him up. If she’s having a tough time beating Peter Abbate, there’s no way this kid is going to beat Peter Abbate.”

Not so, says Eaton, who told us that he is backing Cipriano because he doesn’t believe Regina-Potter can win against Abbate.

“She ran twice. She hasn’t won,” he said. “It’s time for some fresh blood.”

Cipriano towed the line.

“The one thing we know about the race is that Lucretia Regina-Potter can’t beat Peter Abbate,” he contended. “She’s proven that twice.”

But, Regina-Potter said that she believes she’s the woman for the job. “I’ve been in the trenches for many years and I know what needs to be done,” she said. “I have roots in the community, and I have a lot more life experience.”

It’s those characteristics that can lead to her victory, Regina-Potter added.

“Peter Abbate has been around too long,” she said. “People are going to realize who the best person is for the job.”

Primary Day is Sept. 14.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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