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Curses and accusations fly in Republican proxy war

Golden boys: State Sen. Marty Golden backed former Congressional candidate Tim Cochrane over his former ally Craig Eaton.
The Brooklyn Paper
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Every Republican was seeing red at the Brooklyn GOP convention on Sept. 30, as a faction led by state Sen. Marty Golden tried — and failed — to boot party chairman Craig Eaton.

The power struggle began with arcane parliamentary maneuvering, but ended with a raucous exchange of epithets and accusations of mob rule and brainwashing.

“It’s a lynch mob here!” Eaton yelled over the noise of audience members chanting “Sham!” after his allies tossed out nearly three hundred votes against the six-and-a-half-year incumbent.

Golden (R–Bay Ridge) and his supporters wanted to replace Eaton with Timothy Cochrane — a former Conservative Party congressional candidate for Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Staten Island — claiming that Eaton had failed to enlarge the Republican base or challenge long-sitting Democratic electeds.

To unseat Eaton, Golden brought 565 “proxies” — signed affidavits from executive committee members not present at the convention allowing him to vote in their stead. But the party’s credentials committee — a four-person body appointed by Eaton to decide the legitimacy of proxies — threw out 295 of the affidavits before they could be counted, arguing that they were invalid because Golden had collected them before the convention was officially called on Sept. 24.

Things got nasty when Golden stood up to protest the maneuver.

“You’re not in charge here!” said credentials committee head Gene Berardelli. “Stop acting like you’re in charge and be seated!”

But Golden, Cochrane, and their backers continued to shout motions for all the proxies to be counted — motions dismissed by GOP strategist Gerry O’Brien, who acted as temporary chairman during the convention. Chants of “sham!” broke out in the audience several more times, and one Cochrane supporter was ejected from the room.

All this happened before Eaton made his pitch for re-election, arguing the he deserved another two-year term for making inroads into deep-blue Brooklyn, with the election of Bob Turner to Congress and David Storobin to state Senate, in special referendums in 2011 and 2012, respectively. But the heckling continued unabated.

“You are a nasty son of a bitch!” shouted Glenn Nocera at the incumbent. Eaton severed the Kings County Republican Party’s 131-year-old relationship with Nocera’s group, the Brooklyn Young Republican club, in 2011 and formed the rival Brooklyn Young Republicans Club.

Eaton fired back by calling the crowd a group of thugs trying to enforce Golden’s will on the party.

“I’m not going to take direction from a state Senator about how I run the party,” said Eaton. “I’m not going to take direction from a state Senator about what candidates I’m going to run.”

Cochrane made his own speech, vowing greater outreach to Brooklyn’s growing Chinese, Caribbean, and Hasidic communities. The aspiring Republican boss said the party would die out without registering new members.

“We need to increase the Republican rolls, or we’re doomed,” said Cochrane.

Voters in the room backed Cochrane over Eaton 66–20. But Eaton had 420 proxy votes with him — which trumped the 270 Golden was left with after the credentials committee’s decision, for a final tally of 440 votes for Eaton against 336 for Cochrane.

Cochrane and his supporters vowed a lawsuit against the party to force it to count the tossed-out votes, arguing that there is no rule against gathering proxies before the declaration of a convention. Cochrane blasted the discarding of Golden’s proxies as a naked attempt by Eaton to cling to power.

“I’m disgusted with the process,” said Cochrane. “There’s no respect for the system.”

The convention battle followed a weeks-long mailing campaign from Eaton and his supporters. Letters sent to Republicans claimed that non-Republican members of Golden’s staff had “brainwashed” him into opposing the sitting chairman — who had been a longtime ally to the senator. A party leader said on the condition of anonymity that the main “brainwasher” is Golden’s chief-of-staff Jerry Kassar, who is chairman of the Brooklyn Conservative Party.

Kassar — who, as a non-Republican, did not attend the convention — dismissed the accusation.

“Simply not true. Anyone who knows Senator Golden knows he is his own man,” Kassar said.

Republicans on Golden’s staff also denied the claim, and argued that challenging Eaton did not harm the party.

“I don’t think running an alternative candidate for chairman is divisive. That’s why we have conventions,” said Golden aide Ray Riley. “We would have walked out of here united, if the election was not stolen.”

But some felt that the chairmanship battle was a self-inflicted wound to the relatively small Brooklyn GOP — and that the party of Lincoln cannot stand with its house divided against itself.

“The party faces enough challenges at this point, and this could have been settled other ways,” said one member, who asked not to be named.

Golden and Eaton have feuded several times in recent months. In April, Golden called for the resignation of the unnamed “County Chairman #1” mentioned in the federal indictment of state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D–Queens) and Councilman Dan Halloran (R–Queens) — who stand accused of attempting to bribe GOP borough leaders into letting Smith run for mayor as a Republican. Golden’s statement was widely viewed as an attack and accusation against Eaton. The two also endorsed rival mayoral candidates, with Golden backing former Metropolitan Transportation Authority head Joe Lhota, and Eaton supporting supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis. Lhota ultimately triumphed, and became the Republican nominee.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him attwitter.com/WillBredderman.
Updated 10:15 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Jimmy Darmody from Ocean County, NJ says:
You can't be half a gangster, Nucky. Not anymore.
Oct. 1, 2013, 4:29 pm
Sal from Dyker Heights says:
Golden blames Eaton for the state of the party, but it was Golden who voted to eliminate the Republican seat of Senator Storobin and Congressman Grimm.

Shame on Marty Golden.

Also, the crowd of 60 Golden supporters who attended contained a large number of Board of Election employees, who were somehow permitted to take the entire day off work -- the very day before a Primary run-off election.

Eaton supporters at the agency were not allowed to miss work, which suggests something very fishy at the Brooklyn office of the BOE.
Oct. 1, 2013, 6:32 pm
A Kid from The Way We Were says:
Somewhere, Rosemarie O'Keefe is rolling in her grave.
Oct. 1, 2013, 7:17 pm
Ed Seergy's Ghost from Bay Ridge says:
Not sure what the fuss is about. Golden is hanging on to his seat by his fingernails.
Oct. 1, 2013, 8:18 pm
A Kid from The Way We Were says:
Somewhere, Chris Mega is rolling in his grave.
Oct. 1, 2013, 8:24 pm
Ann from Bay Ridge says:
Senator Golden has been blinded by power and has lost sight of what is truly important.. ... no wonder why he is losing support in Bay Ridge.. he is too busy trying to control everything.
Oct. 1, 2013, 9:01 pm
Tick Tock from Fort Hamilton says:
Without Joe Hynes around, Marty's days are numbered.
Oct. 1, 2013, 9:18 pm
A Kid from The Way We Were says:
Somewhere, Arthur Bliss Lane is rolling in his grave.
Oct. 2, 2013, 5:07 am
Vinnie from Boy Ridge says:
Somewhere, Marty's missing gun is rolling in its grave
Oct. 2, 2013, 8:27 am
M.R. from Sunset Park says:
Threatening people at Board of Election with loss of their job should be illegal. Golden should be ashame for scaring people who don't make much money.
Oct. 2, 2013, 8:42 am
Bay Ridge from Bay Ridger says:
We are seeing Marty Golden's final gasps of power. He knows he is finished and will be swept aside like Charles Hynes. Marty thinks he was elected for life, like the Pope. But even some Popes know when it's time to go.

Marty, it's time to go.
Oct. 2, 2013, 12:53 pm
A Kid from The Way We Were says:
Somewhere, Armand Starace is rolling in his grave.
Oct. 2, 2013, 10:53 pm
Nikko from The Morgue says:
All the players seem to be rolling in there graves.
I think that may be the problem with Brooklyns GOP. There all dead.
Oct. 2, 2013, 11:27 pm
Nothing New Here from Moving On says:
http://www.nytimes.com/1996/04/26/nyregion/republicans-fighting-over-seat-in-brooklyn.html
Oct. 3, 2013, 5:52 pm
Neil Levine from South Brooklyn says:
Something fishy goiny on!
Oct. 6, 2013, 12:43 pm
The people from Brooklyn says:
There is a lot of comments of persons having the wrong 411, Eaton lost what the party is all about her made himself the power with no way of getting the people work done. On the other hand the Brooklyn leaders wanted Eaton OUT however he trump every election law , what a sham to the process.
Oct. 13, 2013, 12:05 am
Down Town 7 from Fortgreen says:
Get the story correct Eaton stole the el.ection what a sham
Oct. 13, 2013, 4:28 pm
Bobby D. from Marine Park says:
What a bunch of crap. A Sham process? What sham? The only sham here is Golden, who thought he culd pull a fast one and take out the only other voice that he doesnt control. His time being relevant is almost up. I'm votign for whoever the Democrats put up against him.
Oct. 21, 2013, 3:15 pm

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