Kagan drops assembly challenge against Cymbrowitz

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The cold war between Bay Ridge and Coney Island has claimed its first victim.

Politicos in The People’s Playground and Bay Ridge have been battling over the 46th Assembly District, which spans both neighborhoods — but insiders say a Brighton Beach pol on the fringes of the fight got caught in the crossfire.

District Leader Ari Kagan has dropped his bid to unseat Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay) in the 45th Assembly District — and a contestant in the neighboring Coney-to-Ridge district is pouncing on Kagan’s demise, sources say.

Bay Ridge insiders claim Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island) and allies Assemblywoman Pam Harris (D–Coney Island) and Assemblyman Bill Colton (D–Bensonhurst) are putting forth their own candidate in the Brighton Beach–Sheepshead Bay district to expand their influence in Southern Brooklyn.

Brighton Beacher George Tsikhiseli — a friend of Treyger and Harris, launched a run for the 45th Assembly District seat just days after Kagan dropped out.

Tsikhiseli admitted he’s allied with the Coney Island pols, but denied the war is on.

“People like Pam Harris, Treyger, Colton, they are an inspiration,” he said. I have friends I have known for a while, and that’s one thing but there’s no war going on between coney island and Bay Ridge.”

Treyger is running for 46th Assembly district leader against Chris McCreight of the Bay Ridge Democrats. And Harris is fending off a challenge by Kate Cucco, also a member of McCreight’s club.

And Treyger may have already picked up a new ally — Assemblyman Peter Abbate (D–Sunset Park) backed the pol’s bid for district leader, even though the assemblyman is not exactly buddies with the councilman or his mentor Colton, Ridge insiders say.

Colton got on the bad side of Abbate and Ridge democrats when he backed a Cymbrowitz challenger last cycle and state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) over Democratic challenger Andrew Gounardes in 2012.

“I know that Treyger is very close with Colton, and Colton and Abbate do not get along very well, and Treyger is Colton’s protege, so I would imagine they don’t have the warmest of relationships because of that,” a Ridge source said.

But Abbate said he and Colton had a spat a while back, and now they’re pals.

“We had a little fight two years ago, but that’s all gone,” Abbate said.

• • •

And rumor has it that Abbate is considering a run for term-limited Councilman Vincent Gentile’s (D–Bay Rdige) seat in 2017. Sources say he wants to ditch the $79,500-per-year, part-time job for a full-time, $138,000-a-year gig with Council.

Abbate would not confirm or deny the rumor and said right now he’s just focused on his own re-election this November — but he did seem to take umbrage with the suggestion he’s in it for the dough.

“I am running for the assembly in November, that’s the only thing I am running for right now,” he said. “If I was looking for money I probably wouldn’t have been in assembly for 30 years.”

• • •

Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D–Sunset Park), who is running for reelection in a three-way contest in the Seventh Congressional District, is demanding United States Department of Justice provide federal election monitors to oversee the upcoming primary.

The Brooklyn Board of Elections confirmed that all of the more than 120,000 voters who were improperly purged ahead of the April 19 presidential primary would be reactivated in time for the June 28 vote.

A WNYC analysis found the purge disproportionately affected Latinos, and their disenfranchisement could disproportionately affect Velazquez in the majority Latino district — especially as she faces Youngman Lee, who is trying to mobilize a growing Asian population in the district.

Her office is also calling on the board to contact each voter who was put back on the rolls.

“We think the Board of Elections should make every effort, whether through a mailing or through public service announcements or through e-mail to let improperly purged voters know they have been restored to the rolls and can vote on Tuesday,” a spokesman said.

The Department of Justice is reviewing the request, a spokesman said.

We asked the board if it would contact purged voters, but it hasn’t gotten back to us.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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