By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Republican Party Chairman Craig Eaton, who supported John Catsimatidis in the GOP mayoral primary last month, has announced that he is now backing Joe Lhota for mayor.
In a statement released on Oct. 2, Eaton called on his fellow Brooklyn Republicans to support Lhota.
"I was proud to support John Catsimatidis in the Republican Primary," said Eaton, who has served as chairman of the Brooklyn Republican Party for six years. “But Republican voters chose Joe Lhota as our nominee, and I will do everything I can to elect Joe in November,” he said.
Eaton, a lawyer from Bay Ridge who was re-elected as chairman at the GOP’s county convention on Monday, called the election of Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio "too horrible to imagine," and stated that Republicans throughout Brooklyn should “join together, to make certain de Blasio does not become our next mayor."
The prospect of a de Blasio administration, Eaton said, "would reverse all the progress we made during the 20 years of Giuliani and Bloomberg as our mayors.” The city would see “an epidemic of violent crime” that would “discourage the new economic growth we need to bring jobs back to New York City," he said.
Eaton’s re-election took place at a raucous convention that featured plenty of intra-party squabbling between the chairman and his allies and state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) and a group of insurgents seeking to oust him from the chairmanship.
Golden was pushing for the election of businessman Timothy Cochran, a US Marine who once ran for Bay Ridge’s congressional seat as a Conservative, as chairman over Eaton.
The Brooklyn Paper reported that the two sides fought over whether hundreds of proxy ballots submitted by Golden and his troops should have been counted in the election total. The contested ballots were tossed out and Eaton won re-election 440 votes to Cochran’s 336.
Cochran and his supporters told the Brooklyn Paper’s Will Bredderman that they planned to file a lawsuit over the proxy ballot snub. The goal of the lawsuit would be to have those contested ballots count toward the election total, thereby giving Cochran the win.
A source in the Golden-Cochran camp said the senator believes the GOP should dump Eaton because the chairman has done little over the past six years to expand the party’s base in Brooklyn beyond Bay Ridge and a few other southern Brooklyn neighborhoods. Eaton has also failed to reach out to minorities and immigrant groups, the source told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
But in his statement, Eaton vowed to spread the party's message. "As Republicans, we in Brooklyn will reach out to every new immigrant goup in every corner of our borough," he stated.