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New Sheepshead Bay district leader wants to unite Brooklyn’s democrats

Ari Kagan: I want to unite Southern Brooklyn Democrats

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Russian journalist Ari Kagan defeated Sheepshead Bay Democratic district leader Michael Geller at the polls on Sept. 13, snagging the unpaid party position out from under the 24-year incumbent after receiving more than 60 percent of the vote. We checked in with the new party official this week to find out what he plans to do to unify Southern Brooklyn Democrats:

Courier Life: Your victory over Michael Geller has shaken up Democrats throughout Southern Brooklyn. Everyone’s waiting to find out what you are going to do next. So, what are you doing next?

Ari Kagan: I’m planning to open a new democratic club in Sheepshead Bay. Turnout for the Democratic primary was very light. Maybe 3,200 people voted in a district with many registered Democrats, so my first priority is to create a club and make people excited to turn up and vote. We need a strong club.

CL: You beat Michael Geller, a long-time incumbent, by a significant margin. What happened?

Kagan: It was a great campaign. I got the support of many communities. In the last month the Chinese newspapers published my picture six times. But I won this election because people wanted a change, and they didn’t see the previous district leader as being very active.

CL: How are you different than Michael Geller? Aren’t both of you Democrats?

Kagan: Geller was famous for endorsing many Republican candidates, but you should only endorse a Republican candidate if the Democratic candidate has no connection to the neighborhood and no knowledge of the important issues. I do not plan on endorsing Republican candidates. I am a Democratic district leader, and I take those three words very seriously.

CL: That’s great, but then why did you go after Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz? Geller claimed you made several comments about Steve Cymbrowitz’s wife, claiming that Jews shouldn’t vote for Cymbrowitz because he married a non-Jew. That’s hitting a little below the belt for a fellow Democrat, isn’t it?

Kagan: That’s absolute nonsense. I never said a single word about Steve Cymbrowitz’s wife. People not associated with my campaign said that and some people in Midwood were told that, but I never said anything about his wife. I don’t know what Geller is talking about. Probably he’s still upset about losing.

My only criticism against Cymbrowitz is that he refused to debate his opponent Ben Akselrod. As a journalist, I’m a big fan of debates and I’m a big supporter of hashing out the issues in a debate.

CL: Gotcha. You mentioned that you’re going to form a new club. Do you have a name yet?

Kagan: I’d like to have something with Unity, or United in the title. I still have a few days to think about it, though.

— Colin Mixson

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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Reader Feedback

Alina from Bay ridge says:
liberal with big ego.nothing to do with politic.
Very dangerous person like storobin.
tunnel vision. No respect to anybody.
Oct. 5, 2012, 3:20 am
Tatiana from Manhattan Beach says:
Such leader as Ari Kagan will create great Democratic CLub and will do his best for our neiborhood.
Oct. 5, 2012, 11:09 am
Steve from Midwood says:
I am very hopeful for Ari, that he is the leader of our community , who will finally bring all sides together , Good luck!
Oct. 5, 2012, 4:27 pm
Georgy from Midwood says:
Who is the leader? Ari maiden name Arkady.
He says he is leader.
Shame on u.Ari.
Look around how u betraid people.
U only useD them.
Oct. 5, 2012, 8:10 pm
Larisa from Gravesend says:
Having learned about a victory of Ari on elections, I believed that in life there is a justice. To whom still to be the leader, as not to him, the brilliant journalist and undoubtedly decent and honest person! Thousands people trust him and, it is sure, he will be the real assistant and the defender of Brookliners. I want to wish only that the policy would not spoil this remarkable person, with such open smile and kind heart. Good luck, Ari.
Oct. 15, 2012, 2:10 pm
victoria from sheepsheadbay says:
There are unexpected opponents to Ari in his race this summer for the 48th district. There are two opponents who are way worse than Ari could ever be. He is a politician, but he tries to be a good one, and that is priceless. Know that Mr. Oberman is running against Ari Kagan in this race. Mr . Oberman always forgets to mention this fact. Why? Is he scared that if the Russian public would really know who he is running against, he might not have a chance?
March 16, 2013, 11:04 pm

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