The leadership-hungry Brooklyn Republican Party just got Eaton — again!
Kings County Republican Party chairman Craig Eaton will get to keep his position after a Brooklyn judge threw out a legal challenge from allies of state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge).
A deepening schism between former allies Golden and Eaton devolved into all-out warfare at the party’s county convention in September, when Golden sought to replace the seven-year incumbent with former Conservative Party Congressional candidate Timothy Cochrane.
The profane and accusation-laced battle for control of the borough’s GOP came down to a dispute over absentee “proxy” votes — Golden brought enough of the signed affidavits to the convention to unseat Eaton, but a committee appointed by Eaton threw out most of Golden’s proxies on a technicality.
Golden’s allies sued, but the judge tossed the case on Feb. 28 — also on a technicality — saying that when they filed the suit they did not send it to all the parties involved.
Members of the anti-Eaton faction were disheartened, but said they were considering filing an appeal.
“We’re obviously disappointed at the ruling. We’re going to weigh the value and likelihood of an appeal and go from there,” an insider said. “I think we’d like to see the actual merits of this case decided on.”
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Former Democratic district leader Chris Olechowski — whose turf includes Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and parts of Fort Greene — claims the Brooklyn machine pressured him to step down in order to make way for his successor, Michael Cavaliere, a Greenpoint native and a union mechanic for Con Edison.
Olechowski — with the backing of disgraced Democratic boss Vito Lopez — defeated incumbent Lincoln Restler by just 19 votes in a hotly contested race for the unpaid party position, which covers the 50th Assembly district, represented by Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Greenpoint). District leaders — also called state committeemen — form the Kings County Democratic Party’s executive committee, and elect the powerful party chairman.
Olechowski resigned his hard-won position on New Year’s Eve 2013, allegedly under pressure from the Democratic machine headed by Frank Seddio.
“I was approached by a member of the local political establishment who urged that I resign before my term was up, so that ‘the Party’ could prepare a new candidate for the state committeeman to step in as an incumbent right after the New Year,” Olechowski said.
Olechowski said he was glad to leave the post, and regretted ever running for it. Besides his razor-thin victory, Olechowski said he sensed ill feelings toward him from the machine because he was Lopez’s candidate — even though he was the ex-Assemblyman’s fourth pick to run against Restler. Olechowski also said he was disappointed in the lack of enthusiasm in the party for his drive to create special affordable housing for Polish immigrants who fled communism.
Cavaliere comes from a family of old friends and donors to the 50th Assembly district’s other district leader Linda Minucci, and faces a challenge from New Kings Democrats club leader Nick Rizzo.
The Kings County Democratic Party declined to confirm or deny Olechowski’s claims, but praised his service.
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Ben Akselrod, president of the Bay Democrats Club, is gearing up for a second run against Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay), sources said.
Cymbrowitz — first elected in 2000 — eked out a victory over Akselrod by just a few hundred votes in the 2012 Democratic primary, making it the closest election of the pol’s career. Akselrod then carried on his campaign on the Independence Party line, but pulled just 20 percent of the vote on Election Day.
Akselrod ran as a more conservative alternative to the incumbent, drawing on right-leaning sentiments like opposition to the Voorhies Avenue mosque. But he split the conservative vote in November with Republican candidate Russ Gallo.
Akselrod, a one-time aide to ex-state Sen. Seymour Lachman, declined to confirm he is in the running.
A source close to Gallo said the Young Republicans Club president is definitely not running against Cymbrowitz again, but is considering making a challenge to state Sen. Golden.
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Sources say Councilwoman Darlene Mealy (D–Brownsville) is gearing up for a campaign replace former Assemblyman William Boyland (D–Crown Heights), who was convicted on bribery charges March 6, and lost his seat in the Assembly.
An insider told us that Mealy was initially pushing her staffer Ineisha Williford to file to challenge Boyland, then ordered Williford to drop out to make way for her.
Mealy would face former Barack Obama organizer Lamont Carolina and housing activist Lori Boozer.