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Ridge Council hopefuls taunt Brannan for claiming independence from DeBlasio

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Floating ideas: Bob Capano makes his pitch to voters.
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Active listeners: Justin Brannan speaks to the audience.
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Talking points: John Quaglione addresses the crowd at the Fort Hamilton Senior Center during a political forum on Oct. 5.

The Democratic candidate for Bay Ridge’s Council seat is now running away from Mayor DeBlasio in a bid to woo conservative district voters, despite taking a more supportive stance toward the party standard-bearer during the primary.

Justin Brannan even bragged about taking the mayor to court over a change in sanitation rules at a political forum at the Fort Hamilton Senior Center, hosted by the Bay Ridge Council on Aging Debate on Oct. 4.

“I’m a guy who could stand up to Mayor DeBlasio as an independent Democrat. I’m actually the only guy who’s running for city Council that’s currently suing Mayor DeBlasio because he’s not picking up the garbage on the private streets,” Brannan said of a lawsuit he and erstwhile boss Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) filed with the affected residents back in June. “As a Democrat, I’m an independent, number one — I’m going to be beholden to you, the voter, the people who live in this district.”

Throughout the primary season, the handful of Republican vying for the open seat relentlessly pounded DeBlasio on quality-of-life issues and mismanagement, and even Democratic rivals tarred Brannan by highlighted his tenure working for City Hall. So the two conservative candidates who will be on the ballot against Brannan in November were not about to give the former Department of Education staffer a pass.

“DeBlasio ally Justin Brannan has spent too much time away from Brooklyn in his cushy City Hall sponsored tweed courthouse patronage job,” said Republican John Quaglione’s campaign spokesman John Orlando. “Brannan Independent? Brannan must think we’re dopes!”

Newly registered Reform Party candidate Bob Capano pointed to Brannan’s early endorsement of the mayor as evidence hecan be counted on to be independent.

“Brannan and his local democratic club were among the first to endorse DeBlasio in 2013 and Brannan was promptly rewarded with a patronage position in the city Department of Education. There’s as much chance of Justin Brannan standing up to Mayor DeBlasio as me winning the next New York City marathon,” said the paunchy politico, “and obviously, that chance is zero!”

But the former punk rocker will not be intimidated — either by taunts from his opponents or by the tall guy in City Hall — according to his campaign spokesman.

“Now more than ever, we need to elect people with guts who aren’t afraid to stand up for what’s right,” said Jonathan Yedin. “Justin always puts the people of the 43rd Council District first, and that means standing up to fellow Democrats when they’re wrong and working across party lines to make progress on the issues that matter to our neighborho­ods.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 1:34 am, July 10, 2018
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