With State Senate primaries just two months away, it might be a good time to revisit some district maps to get a sense of representation in Brooklyn. Some districts make sense, while others… not so much.
From splitting Greenpoint in two, or the long arm of the 20th District, or even the map-spanning 22nd, which runs from Bay Ridge to Marine Park, some of the State Senate districts appear less influenced by community or neighborhood than they do by electoral design. And that’s not even counting the ones that pair small sections of Brooklyn with Staten Island and Manhattan! Which of the choices is the strangest to you?
As you give the map a glance, let us know what you think—we’ve also highlighted a few of the important and exciting primary challenges or contentious races to be on the look-out for!
The 17th District
Current State Senator: Simcha Felder
Neighborhoods: Borough Park, Mapleton, Midwood, Gravesend, Kensington, Sheepshead Bay
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While Senator Felder is ostensibly a Democrat, he’s unabashedly caucused with the Senate Republicans, even telling constituents at a meeting of the Bay Democrats that if they’re looking for a loyal Democrat to represent them, “I’m not that guy.”
Democrat Blake Morris is making a primary challenge this year, hoping to unseat Felder, who has been a lightning rod over issues like blocking the reauthorization of the speed camera program, hijacking state budget negotiations over yeshiva funding, and opposing an environmental bill that would charge a small fee for plastic bags.
The 18th District
Current State Senator: Martin Dilan (D)
Neighborhoods: Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Bed-Stuy, Bushwick, Cypress Hills
After the success of upstart Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez in the Bronx and Queens, media attention has turned to the 18th District Democratic-Socialist challenger Julia Salazar, who will challenge Martin Dilan in the primary. Hammering the incumbent over campaign contributions from real-estate interests and his voting history—supporting bills that hurt affordable housing in Brooklyn, Salazar does face a tough fight, especially against an opponent with a solid presence in his district.
The 19th District
Current State Senator: Roxanne Persaud
Neighborhoods: Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Ocean Hill
The 20th District
Current State Senator: Jesse Hamilton
Neighborhoods: Sunset Park, Gowanus, Park Slope, South Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Brownsville
The most notable challenge against Jesse Hamilton comes from Zellnor Myrie a Democrat who recently spoke head to head with Hamilton at a candidates forum. He’s attacked the incumbent Hamilton for his role in the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of eight Democratic Senators that aligned themselves with Senate Republicans to hand over a voting majority. Affordable housing will be a key aspect of the campaign and Myrie is hoping for a series of debates.
The 21st District
Current State Senator: Kevin S. Parker
Neighborhoods: Park Slope, South Slope, Windsor Terrace, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Ditmas Park, Flatlands
The 22nd District
Current State Senator: Marty Golden
Neighborhoods: Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Gerritsen Beach, Marine Park
The real excitement in the 22nd District isn’t in the Republican primary, but in the Democratic, where two hopefuls are lining up to challenge Golden in the general. We’ve covered Andrew Gounardes and Ross Barkan extensively, so here’s just the latest exclusives: Barkan’s immigration platform, which includes a call to abolish ICE, and Gounardes’ “reasonable regulation” approach to guns.
The 23rd District
Current State Senator: Diane Savino
Neighborhoods: [North Staten Island], Sunset Park, Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Seagate, Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay
While District 23 seems to focus mostly on the north shore of Staten Island, it does include a significant section of Brooklyn, with neighborhoods like Bath Beach, Seagate, Coney Island, and Brighton Beach in the mix, along with parts of Gravesend. Jasi Robinson is making a primary challenge against Diane Savino, another Democrat who was part of the IDC, aligning themselves with Senate Republicans. A legal secretary, Robinson is eschewing corporate donors in her “True Blue” campaign as a Progressive Democrat.
The 25th District
Current State Senator: Velmanette Montgomery
Neighborhoods: Red Hook, Gowanus, Sunset Park, Boerum Hill, Downtown, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bed-Stuy, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights
The 26th District
Current State Senator: Brian Kavanagh
Neighborhoods: [Lower Manhattan], Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, Williamsburg, Greenpoint