By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
In an election threatened to be overshadowed by the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, most of the incumbents in southern Brooklyn running for re-election handily won their contests on Nov. 6.
Republican-Conservative state Sen. Marty Golden easily defeated his challenger, Democrat Andrew Gounardes, according to the election results. The incumbent, seeking a sixth term in the 22nd state senate district (Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn), earned 58 percent of the vote total, beating Gounardes, who had 42 percent.
It was a bitter contest between the two men, who verbally attacked each other at a series of debates around the district throughout the fall.
Gounardes continuingly hammered away at Golden’s conservative voting record, charging that the incumbent “doesn’t understand the needs of the district.” Golden disputed that contention, saying that he has “been able to deliver” state funding and services constituents need.
In the waning days of the campaign, Golden did very little campaigning for votes. Instead, the incumbent spent a great deal of his time in communities like Gerritsen Beach, which were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Golden collected and delivered emergency supplies for residents who had suddenly lost their homes. “He wants to win this thing badly, but he also wants to be there or people who need help,” said one top aide, who spoke to a reporter on Election Day morning.
Several incumbents represent district that sustained massive damage in the hurricane. As a result, their campaign schedules during the last week leading up to the election were severely curtailed.
Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny (D-Bay Ridge-Coney Island-Brighton Beach), not only had to work to help his constituents recover from the devastation Sandy wrought, he had to pump water out of his flooded Sea Gate home. Brook-Krasny won re-election on Tuesday, defeating his Republican-Conservative opponent, Thomas McCarthy, by 20 percentage points, 59 to 39 in the 46th Assembly District.
Similarly, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Bay Ridge-Staten Island), spent a lot of time away from the campaign trail to assist residents on the Staten Island side of her district. Malliotkakis, running for a second term in office, earned 62 percent. Her Democratic opponent, John Mancuso, trailed with 38 percent. Malliotakis, seen as a rising star in the New York State Republican Party, represents the 64th Assembly District.
Malliotakis posted a message to her friends on Facebook on Election Night . “Thank you to everyone who placed their faith in me ot carry us through what will be a difficult and challenging two years,’ she wrote.
In the 11th Congressional District, which stretches from Staten Island into Brooklyn, Republican-Conservative Michael Grimm won a second term in office. Grimm beat back a challenge from Democrat Mark Murphy, 53 percent to 46 percent. Curiously, Murphy, son of former congressman John Murphy, did little to no campaigning in either side of the district, Staten Island or Brooklyn. Still, Murphy denied Grimm the ability to reach the 60 percent threshold in the election, a vote total that most incumbents in southern Brooklyn had no trouble topping.
Grimm, a marine and a former FBI agent, was first elected to the House in 2010. It marked his first try at running for political office.
Other incumbents who had easy election victories included U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Upper West Side-Bay Ridge-Bensonhurst) cruised to a big win, garnering 81 percent of the vote to his opponent Michael Chan’s 19 percent in the Eighth Congressional District.
U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Lower East Side-Brooklyn) had an even more decisive victory, earning 94 percent of the vote to the 6 percent earned by her Republican opponent James Murray. Velazquez has been in office for 20 years. She represents the 12th Congressional District.When she first won election in 1992, she was the first Puerto Rican woman to be elected to congress.
State Sen. Diane Savino (D-Bay Ridge-Bensonhurst-Staten Island) defeated her Republican opponent Lisa Grey, 76 percent to 24 percent in the 23rd State Senate District.
Assemblyman Peter Abbate (D-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) who earned 89 percent of the vote in the 49th Assembly District. His opponent, Conservative Vincent Katinas (no relation to this reporter) earned 11 percent.
Democratic Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, who represents the 51st Assembly District (Sunset Park-Bay Ridge), earned 86 percent of the vote in his Election Night win. His opponent, Republican Henry Lallave, earned 14 percent.
One exception to the incumbent’s rule was state Sen. David Storobin (R-Sheepshead Bay-Midwood), who was defeated on Election Night by former councilman Simcha Felder, 69 percent to 31 percent. For Felder, his big win marked a triumphant return to politics. He had left the council two years ago to become a deputy to City Comptroller John Liu.