A virtual fundraiser in support of Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr.’s run for Brooklyn Borough President last night featured well-known entertainers Spike Lee and Tracy Morgan—but more importantly, it also included several notable city and state officials, some of whom hadn’t previously made public their preferences in the race.
Those elected officials include several from southern Brooklyn, where Bklyner had previously reported seemingly little engagement in the Borough President’s race: State Senators Diane Savino and Roxanne Persaud; Assemblymembers William Colton and Jaime Williams; and Council Members Chaim Deutsch and Alan Maisel.
Other elected officials backing Cornegy include Assembly Member Erik Dilan, Council Members Laurie Cumbo and Darma Diaz, and a collection of Brooklyn Democratic district leaders from the southern and central portions of the borough, including former county party chair Frank Seddio, Joseph Bova and Dionne Brown-Jordan.
Most of the individuals listed are firmly aligned with the Democratic party’s establishment wing, which has come into conflict with an emerging wave of progressives, some of whom are backing other candidates in the race, particularly north Brooklyn Council Member Antonio Reynoso.
Cornegy’s extended focus on small business issues, as well as his more moderate positions on issues like education and policing, make him a natural fit for many of the moderate politicians involved in the event.
But Cornegy has come under fire recently for allegations he misused his Council office to launch his run for Borough President, and complaints that a staffer called the police on a constituent during a stand-off at a community event. He has also been criticized for accepting donations from the real estate industry at a time when many other candidates have sworn off such contributions.
Bklyner reached out to several of the individuals listed on the fundraiser flyer; several declined to comment or did not respond by press time. One who did respond was Diaz, who represents parts of Bushwick and East New York and is facing her own tough election fight this year.
“We share the same visions for New York City: affordable housing, eviction prevention and intervention, and family-sustaining jobs,” Diaz said of Cornegy. “We believe that the mom and pop business is in danger and needs immediately help. We believe in preserving our open spaces. We believe that safer neighborhoods go beyond policing and include community participation.”
In a statement issued in January, Assemblymember Colton, who represents parts of Gravesend and Bath Beach, cited education policy as the motivating factor for his endorsement; both officials have criticized the decision by Mayor Bill de Blasio to phase out the gifted and talented programs in city public schools.
The primary election is June 22nd.