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Bay Ridge Democrats get out the vote with cell phones, pizza parties

Justin Brannan is organizing phone banks in Bay Ridge for mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio. Photo courtesy Justin Brannan

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Energized by their mayoral candidate’s recent surge in the polls, members of the Bay Ridge Democrats political club are feverishly trying to pull out the vote for Bill de Blasio by conducting pizza-fueled phone banks and old-fashioned knocking on doors.

The Bay Ridge Democrats, which endorsed de Blasio for mayor several months ago, is hosting a phone bank party this week, where supporters will cold call registered Democrats and ask them to vote for the public advocate in the Sept. 10 Democratic Primary. Volunteers will gather at The Art Room, an art school-gallery at 8710 Third Ave. co-owned by Club President Justin Brannan, on Thursday, Aug. 1, at 7 p.m. It will be the second of two such gatherings of de Blasio supporters. A phone bank session was also scheduled to take place on July 30.

Club President Justin Brannan sent a mass e-mail to local Democrats seeking volunteers to man the phones.

"The New York Times recognizes Bill de Blasio as the ‘most intelligent and informed candidate in the field.’ And according to a new Quinnipiac poll released just a few hours ago, Bill de Blasio has shot up to second place in the September 10 Democratic primary for mayor!” Brannan wrote on July 29.

“Now we need your help to spread this great news all across southern Brooklyn,” Brannan wrote to Democrats. “All you'll need is your cell phone,” he wrote.

Brannan promised pizza for everyone. “There will be free pizza involved. Andrew’s buying!” he wrote, referring to club member Andrew Gounardes, who became well known in Bay Ridge when he ran against state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) last year.

NBC news reported that in the Quinnipiac poll released on July 29, de Blasio had 21 percent of the vote, second only to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who had 27 percent of the vote. Former city comptroller Bill Thompson was in third place with 20 percent.

Former frontrunner Anthony Weiner, who had surged to the head of the pack when he entered the mayor’s race in May, had sunk down to fourth place in the new poll, as voters digest the news that his sexual indiscretions had continued even after he resigned from congress in disgrace two years ago.

For de Blasio, the new poll is welcome news. Just last month, the public advocate and former Park Slope councilman had been mired at 10 percent in the polls. But in a recent interview, de Blasio told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that he was confident he would rise in the polls as the primary drew closer.

“People aren’t tuned in yet. People’s lives are busy. They’re not focusing on this race yet,” he told the Eagle earlier this month.

The poll numbers are music to Brannan’s ears, too. The Democratic Party activist, whose day job is communications director for Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) said he believes de Blasio’s stand on issues is winning over the voters.

“From pushing for a vote on the paid sick leave bill, to building a plan for universal early education and defending small businesses, Bill is standing up to the status quo and the only candidate who will bring progressive change to City Hall,” Brannan said.

July 30, 2013 - 8:00am


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