2020 is the year of the pandemic, but before we were sequestered inside our homes it was another fairly typical election year. New York will still hold Democratic primaries on June 23rd, and arguably the most consequential contests of the year are in North Brooklyn where a number upstart candidates seek to unseat longtime incumbents.

Reminder: The Board of Elections began mailing absentee ballot applications this week, but If you’re already a registered NYC voter then you can complete the online absentee ballot application right now. The deadline to apply is June 16th.

With only a month away from a primary with national, state and local implications, who’s on the ballot in North Brooklyn?


U.S. President

Yes. Joe Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, but the presidential primary is back on in New York after Governor Cuomo cancelled it to prevent crowds from congregating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And while some argue that the presidential primary is a mere formality at this point, votes that candidates receive determine how many delegates represent them at the Democratic National Convention, which can in turn influence the party’s platform, concluded U.S. District Court Judge Analisa Torres in a ruling reinstating the presidential primary.

Here are the candidates registered for New York State’s presidential primary:


Congressional Representatives

The state has North Brooklyn sliced into two congressional districts, with the 12th district encompassing Greenpoint and part of Williamsburg and the 7th district encompassing south and east Williamsburg as it extends into central Brooklyn.

Both races feature longstanding incumbents challenged by political upstarts.

12th Congressional District

Lauren Ashcraft—Former project manager at JPMorgan Chase and community organizer.

Peter Harrison—Housing rights activist and Democratic Socialist.

Carolyn B. Maloney—Incumbent and congressional representative since 1993.

Suraj Patel—Attorney with an insurgent but unsuccessful campaign last election cycle.

7th Congressional District

Paperboy Love Prince—26-year-old rapper and ‘Yang Gang’ enthusiast.

Nydia M. Velazquez—Incumbent and congressional representative since 1993.


New York State Assembly

The race to represent the 50th Assembly District mirrors the dynamics of the congressional contest, with the comparatively fresh-faced Emily Gallagher, a local activist and community board member, challenging incumbent Assemblyman Lentol, a third-generation lawmaker who has represented Greenpoint and its surrounding neighborhoods for the past 47 years.

Emily E. Gallagher—Community board member who works at an educational non-profit.

Joseph R. Lentol—Incumbent who’s represented north Brooklyn for the past 47 years.


State Senate

In 2018, Julia Salazar, a self-described Democratic Socialist, upset a 16-year incumbent to win a seat in the NYS Senate, joining the flood of other progressives who unseated longtime party stalwarts, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Now in her first bid for reelection, Salazar faces a challenger, Andy J. Marte.

Julia Salazar—Incumbent and Democratic Socialist seeking a second term.

Andy J. Marte—North Brooklyn native who works as a HIV/AIDS clinic consultant.


Judge of the Civil Court

Judges elected to Brooklyn’s civil court hold a term of 10 years and can rule on matters ranging from small claims to commercial landlord-tenant cases. Both candidates in this year’s primary are community activists and attorneys looking to make the jump from law clerk to judge.

Maria Aragona—North Brooklyn native and law clerk to a justice in Brooklyn
Stephen Surge Burzio—Binghamton graduate and law clerk to a judge on the New York State Supreme Court


Other Races?

This year’s ballot features candidates for more obscure positions in the Democratic party, specifically delegates and alternate delegates to the 50th Assembly District’s judicial convention as well as male and female state committee members.

For those that want to jump down a rabbit hole filled with the intricacies of the Democratic party system, here’s an article by WNYC demystifying the judicial nomination process and an opinion piece published by Gotham Gazette that explains the role of state committee members.

Join the Conversation

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  1. Why is there absolutely nothing in your publication that examines how the Lentol family has turned Greenpoint into its persoanl fiefdom? Represented the area for 47 years? How long did his grandfather and father hold the same seat? This is absurd and just more Brooklyn Democratic Party shenanigans!

  2. Andy J. Marte claims also to have worked for the Department of Education as a Substitute Teacher however there are no records proving any past certifications.

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