Political rivalries trump party lines.
Incumbent 47th Assembly District Democratic committeeman Charlie Ragusa is fending off attacks from primary challenger Billy Thai, who says Ragusa has failed to support fellow Democrats’ bids for office. Ragusa said he didn’t back the attempts because the aspirants were his political rivals.
He didn’t endorse Jamie Kemmerer in his 2014 bid against state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge), or Andrew Gounardes’s 2012 challenge to the senator, because both were members of the Bay Ridge Democrats, which has a history of animosity with Ragusa’s own United Progressive Democratic Club.
Thai previously called Ragusa a racist for challenging his petitions to get on the ballot — a common practice among candidates.
Ragusa said the mud-slinging originated from his longtime rivals, and said he’s ready to take the fight to club founder Justin Brannan’s turf if Brannan runs for his old boss Councilman Vincent Gentile’s Bay Ridge seat in 2017.
“Unfortunately we’re at odds with them. This is what it’s all about. Unfortunately it’s a longstanding thing. It’s complicated, it’s not me alone, I’m part of a group,” said Ragusa. “They’ve done things to Mark Treyger, they’ve done things to Bill Colton — Justin Brannan is involved — he wants to run for Council. We’re going to do the same thing when he runs for Council. It’s tit for tat.”
But that misses the point — Ragusa’s lack of support undermined Democratic efforts, said Brannan, who has not announced his intentions for the Bay Ridge seat.
“Billy Thai was right. Both Charlie Ragusa and Mark Treyger have a history of refusing to support Democrats in general elections. This is a fact. But I’m not sure what any of this has to do with me,” said Brannan.
Ragusa also did not support former Councilman Domenic Recchia’s failed congressional bid against Michael Grimm — but that’s because he just didn’t think Recchia would be a good congressman, he said.
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The Working Families Party has endorsed Assemblywoman Pam Harris (D–Coney Island) — even though she cannot run on its party line come November.
The group endorsed Harris in her race against Kate Cucco for the 46th Assembly District on July 20, but she did not get enough signatures from party members to actually appear on the ballot.
Harris collected 10 signatures — the minimum required — but the Board of Elections tossed three of them, because the signatories were not actually members of the party, which is one of two requirements for signing the petition.
But the party still has her back, according to its New York political director, who called her apparently weak petitioning a “technical error.”
“We’ve endorsed Pam Harris for Assembly, and she has the Working Families Party’s full support,” said Ari Kamen. “While she won’t appear on our ballot line due to a technical error, we’ll make sure that every WFP voter in the district knows that she is our candidate and the best voice to fight for our progressive values.”
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Brooklyn Democratic power couple Councilwoman Inez Barron (D–Canarsie) and Assemblyman Charles Barron (D–East New York) will not vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in November.
Instead, they’re writing in “reparations now” — joining a handful of black activists who believe people of color deserve recompense for slavery and systemic racism in the U.S.
But mainly, they just don’t like Clinton, who they accused of tokenistic support of the Black Lives Matter movement and possessing positions too close to her husband’s.
“I should not be supporting them. Using the Black Lives Matter movement to help get a platform for herself without addressing the issue, which is the police killing of unarmed people,” she said. “When President Bill Clinton was in office, he is the architect of kicking women and families off of assistance after five years, the architect for mass incarceration, for which our people have been unfairly subjected. She and her husband appear to be of a like mind and have not been of benefit to African-American people.”
©2016 Community News Group
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