BAY RIDGE – The race for District Leader in the 46th Assembly District is underway and so are hateful attacks.
Last week, a Bay Ridge neighbor sent us two flyers someone received in the mail. They said they were in an envelope. One of the flyers had a photo of Republican District Leader candidate and former State Senator Marty Golden staffer John Quaglione, who ran for City Council back in 2017. It said, “On June 25, 2019, vote John F. Quaglione. District Leader. 46th Assembly District. An American with American Values.”
The other flyer had a photo of Republican candidate Eugene Ovsischer (though the last name was spelled incorrectly). Under his name, in colorful lettering, the term “Rainbow Warrior” was quoted. Under his photo, there was a rainbow flag that said: “LGBT Veteran, Proudly Served.” It didn’t stop there. In the bottom of the flyer, it said, “June is a celebration for the LGBT community. It is not a celebration for true Republicans. Say NO to the ‘Rainbow Warrior.'”
Ovsischer immigrated to the United States in 1994 and is a decorated U.S. Army combat veteran who toured in Iraq.
The 46th Assembly district, which covers Coney Island and Sea Gate, as well as parts of Bath Beach, Bay Ridge, Brighton Beach, Dyker Heights, and Gravesend, has a very competitive District Leader race. There are three “females” and three “males” running for the non-paid seat that serves as a liaison between constituents and the district’s elected officials. Here are the people who are running:
- Kerri McCarthy & John Quaglione
- Lucretia Regina-Potter & Eugene Ovsischer
- Viktoria Grinblat & Daniel Slavin
Quaglione denied the flyers came from his campaign and suggested perhaps a faction of the Brooklyn GOP or Democrats was behind it. He told Bklyner, “That is not my flyer. This is a slander/attack fabricated. Which I will condemn publicly.”
Bklyner spoke to Peter, a resident from Dyker Heights, who did not want his last name used. He said he also received the flyers in a mail either last Monday or Tuesday. When he opened the mail, he thought “it was just typical campaign literature. I get a lot of stuff during election time.”
He noted that he’s a registered voter, and thinks that with the elections next week, that is why he was sent the flyers.
“How disgusting is this? You should know I would never do such despicable flyer – that photo is on my Facebook page from 2013 – this is probably the same person who put me on a cheaply made flyer comparing me to Donald Trump – wonder if the Dems are behind this – or another faction of the Brooklyn GOP,” Quaglione said.
When Bklyner tweeted the facts last week, along with his emailed statement, Quaglione threatened to sue.
I just told you on email that it is not me. Please remove post or will be included in any legal action going forward. I will issue a statement later
— John Quaglione (@JohnQuaglione) June 15, 2019
“I am truly disgusted by the hatred that jumps off the page of the two flyers appearing to be circulated by my campaign for Republican District Leader for the 46th Assembly District. I strongly condemn the messages contained in these sham flyers and investigating their origins,” Quaglione said. “This is nothing more than a cowardly political attack, which is highly offensive to one of my opponents and to the voters who may receive it.”
“I believe that whoever is responsible for this pathetic attempt to see me fail wants my voice and proven track record to just go away. However, it has only motivated me to work harder towards victory in the upcoming elections.”
“Anyone that knows me, knows these flyers are not something I would ever create or distribute. They are not in line with my character or my beliefs. I have and continue to maintain a great level of integrity, and great respect for this community and all who call it home. That’s why I am running for this position – to make this community better. Because that is what we deserve.”
Though it is unclear how many flyers were sent out, what is clear is that people in Bay Ridge weren’t the only ones receiving them. A reporter who lives in Williamsburg in the 53rd Assembly District got the flyers in the mail as well.
It’s not just Bay Ridge. I live in Williamsburg. pic.twitter.com/IvZqL7Wc03
— Julianne Cuba (@Julcuba) June 15, 2019
In a statement to Bklyner, Ovsischer denounced the homophobic attacks.
“I was very dismayed to see a hateful political mailer with my opponent’s name and photo so prominently featured. I was further disappointed to see that my photo, along with a rainbow flag, crudely denounce the LGBT community, and mock me and ALL who proudly served in the military for our beloved country,” Ovsischer said. “If my opponent, or his supporters, are behind this disturbing piece of political hate mail, then this it is a clear indication that he is not fit to run for this position, and that he prefers to use lies and distortions.”
He then said, “While I categorically deny the malicious accusations of being a ‘Rainbow Warrior’, I do wish to represent all Republicans in our district, regardless of their preferences, and proudly serve as their Republican District Leader.”
“First, I proudly served in the army of the United States of America,” he added, “and secondly, I became an American citizen because I wanted to be an American! The lies and hatred in this mailer show prejudice and discrimination against EVERYONE, especially for the immigrants that contribute and serve to make America great.”