By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
He’s dropping out and dropping in at the same time, though in a much less controversial manner than Vito Lopez.
Andy Sullivan, the Tea Party candidate hoping to run against incumbent City Council member Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) in November, has quit the race and is setting his sights on another council seat in a neighboring district.
Sullivan confirmed that he has decided to run for the council seat in the 47th District in Coney Island, currently represented by term-limited Domenic Recchia Jr.
“It’s an open seat,” Sullivan, a construction worker who shot to fame with his opposition to the Ground Zero mosque, told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “No incumbent means that I’ll have a clearer shot,” he said.
Sullivan would be the only Republican running for the seat. There is a crowded field of Democrats hoping to succeed Recchia. The candidates include: John Lisyanskiy, a member of Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s staff; Mark Treyger, an aide to Assemblyman Bill Colton (D–Bensonhurst); Coney Island civic activist Todd Dobrin; and Pastor Connis Mobley of the United Community Baptist Church on Mermaid Avenue.
Sullivan, who would have had to face John Quaglione, deputy chief o staff to state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) in a Republican Primary for the Gentile seat, said he was also dropping out of the race in the interest of party loyalty. Quaglione announced his intention to run against Gentile in April.
“Personally, I think it would be destructive to the party for me and John to have this primary. There’s a lot of cannibalism going on in the Republican Party right now. If we Republicans want to win more seats in city government, we need to have a united front. With me dropping out, John will have a clear shot at Gentile,” Sullivan said.
“Don’t get me wrong. I was really looking forward to ripping up Gentile. But this is a way of unifying the Republican Party,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan said he believes his blue collar roots will play well in the 47th District, which includes Coney Island, Gravesend, and parts of Bensonhurst. “It’s a district full of working people like me. They don’t want their taxes raised just like I don’t want my taxes raised. When you bust your butt for your family, you don’t want the government taking away any more of your money in taxes. The frat boys took control of New York City politics and it’s time for the grownups to take away City Hall’s credit card,” he said.
Sullivan has been a construction supervisor at the Freedom Tower under construction at the World Trade Center site. He was outspoken in his opposition to the so-called Ground Zero Mosque, the cultural center advocated by a group of Arab-Americans that caused a great deal of controversy due to its planned location near Ground Zero. The plans were put on hold after a public outcry over the mosque.