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Dem Party Boss ties knots, breaks ties

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Brooklyn’s Democratic Party Boss Frank Seddio has ties to almost all of the Democratic hopefuls running to replace Councilman Vincent Gentile for the Bay Ridge seat this year, but plans to support the one candidate who hasn’t even officially thrown his hat in the ring yet — Assemblyman Peter Abbate (D–Bensonhurs­t).

“I would support Abbate if he decided to run. I believe he most likely will run. I do believe that it is his intention to run — he’s been attending all the different events. I’ve known Peter a long time, been friends for over 30 years,” said Seddio during a phone interview. “I believe he would probably have the best shot of winning.”

Abbate has so far neither confirmed nor denied the rumor that he’s mulling a run, but he did send out holiday mailers — with faux union bugs that falsely suggested they were printed by union workers — to Bay Ridgites outside of his district back in December.

And now, Abbate still won’t commit if he plans to officially run for the seat — saying he’s too focused on the state budget at the moment.

“I’ll talk to you right after the budget is done,” Abbate said during a brief phone call on April 3.

Declared candidate Justin Brannanwho is again working for his former boss Councilman Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) — said “I do” to his wife while Party Boss Seddio officiated the couple’s wedding back in 2012.

But even with that intimate connection, Seddio still plans to support Abbate — though he nonetheless “has great affection” for Brannan, according to Brooklyn Democratic Party spokesman Bob Liff.

And fellow candidate Kevin Peter Carroll has close ties to the Party Boss as well, as a seven-year district leader, though he also has a history of siding against the county organization, and so wasn’t expecting chairman’s support, he said.

“It wouldn’t be surprising to have the party leadership oppose me. I have always been an independent. At the end of the day, [Seddio’s] a friend of mine, he doesn’t have a vote in this district,” said Carroll. “I don’t know where this narrative came from that I’m a party insider, I’ve always been a person who goes his own way. I go with the party if I think the party is right. I have a very good relationship with Frank.”

But the gloves won’t really come off until after the primary this coming September, when the general election in November comes down to electing a donkey verses an elephant — because Bay Ridge is in a district that could easily sway to the right, said Seddio.

“The real race in that community is not necessarily of Democrats but that’s a district where Republicans could win — one of the few districts in Brooklyn,” he said.

But despite being the only Brooklyn neighborhood to have multiple Republican representatives — state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge), Rep. Dan Donovan (R–Bay Ridge), and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R–Bay Ridge) — the area’s voter rolls tell a different story. In the 22nd state Senate district, which Bay Ridge falls into, there are a total of 156,222 active registered voters — 78,083 are Democrats and 33,984 are Republicans, as of April 1, 2017, according to state records.

And in the November general election, Bay Ridgites still ultimately cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton with 15,344 votes, compared to 9,126 for Trump, according to data from DNAInfo.

• • •

And another race that should soon be heating up is the 48th Council race, where it’s also possible a member of the Grand Old Party could steal the seat from freshman Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay), said Seddio.

“It’s not impossible for a Republican to win the Deutsch seat also, a large Russian community there,” he said.

Deutsch will face Republican candidate Steve Saperstein, who recently announced his candidacy for the seat and already has $31,285 in his campaign coffers, according to city records.

Deutsch currently has $57,714 in contributions, and will have to give up his annual $249,000 in outside income from his real estate management company, Chasa Management, if he wins re-election.

Deutsch handily beat his last Republican opponent, former state Sen. David Storobin, in the 2013 election. Deutsch sailed to victory with 10,169 votes to Storobin’s 7,608, according to city records.

But Deutsch’s travails my come sooner than the general election. He may face rumored candidate Kalman Yeger, his cousin, in the Democratic primary in September.

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