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Akselrod out: Republican candidate resigns as president of Democratic club

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After switching parties to run for office as a Republican, Ben Akselrod has resigned as the president of Bay Democrats — but he remains a member, and part of the group’s newly created executive board.

“I think it was better for the club to have it this way,” said Akselrod, who lost the Democratic primary to Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay), but then accepted the Republican nomination to challenge the incumbent in the Nov. 4 general election.

Akselrod resigned as president of the neighborhood’s Democratic club several days after running as a Republican, and after he stepped down, the Bay Democrats decided to abolish the post and replace it with a six-member executive board — to which Akselrod was immediately elected.

Akselrod secured the Republican nomination with 46 write-in votes — compared to Cymbrowitz’s 27 GOP votes.

The once-and-future Democrat — described by a fellow club member as “conservative” — said he doesn’t regret running as a candidate for both parties, and was flattered that he received votes from both party lines.

“As far as regrets, no — I’m honored by the fact that people in the Republican party wrote my name in more than Cymbrowitz’s name in,” he said. “Why is this something that should be looked upon negatively?”

Akselrod said his resignation wasn’t the result of pressure from club members — instead, he said it was to save the political club from embarrassment.

“I felt like my name appeared on the Republican line and I don’t want the club to be looked upon from other elected officials or different people who would say, ‘Oh how could you do that?’ ” said Akselrod.

A member of the Bay Democrats confirmed that no one forced Akselrod to resign — but the club supported his decision, especially since Akselrod lost both the primary and the general election this year.

“Everybody aided him that this is the right decision for him and for us,” said Ari Kagan, a Democratic district leader and a longtime friend of Akselrod. “He wants to help the club.”

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at vogle@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4507. Follow her attwitter.com/oglevanessa.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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