BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Updated Tues, Dec. 14, 12:30 p.m.: Following Richard Gottfried’s surprise announcement that he’ll retire from the Assembly at the end of next year, names are already being tossed around about who might run to be his successor for the Chelsea / Hell’s Kitchen seat.
Several potential candidates have been mentioned, ranging from political staffers to local leaders.
One of them is Lowell Kern, the chairperson of Community Board 4, who also is a borough president appointee to the board of directors of the Hudson River Park Trust.
Two others are current or former staff members of City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. One of them, Louis Cholden-Brown, has been with the Council for a number of years. The other, Carl Michael Wilson, Johnson’s former C.B. 4 liaison, is a relative political newcomer. He left Johnson’s staff this past May.
Ambur Nicosia, the president of the Penn South co-op board, has also reportedly been mentioned.
The source did not mention any of the candidates who ran in this year’s City Council District 3 primary election, which was won by Erik Bottcher, including Leslie Boghosian Murphy, Phelan-Dante Fitzpatrick, Marni Halasa or Aleta LaFargue. Arthur Schwartz, who finished second in that race, lives just south of the Assembly district.
Asked if she would run, Halasa told The Village Sun, “No way.”
“There are no free and fair elections in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen,” she declared. “Things are so rigged in District 3 that only another political insider would have a chance. I don’t covet that experience.”
Boghosian Murphy said she does not live in the 75th Assembly District but in the neighboring 67th Assembly District — at least for now.
“I am committed to my neighborhood and public service, whatever form that may take,” she said. “Right now, redistricting lines are not drawn, so we have to wait and see where those fall.”
She said it’s expected the new district lines could be set by January or February, which would be cutting it very close to when candidates are required to collect petition signatures to get on the ballot.
Another C.B. 4 member who has also worked in the City Council, Chris LeBron, is also a declared candidate for the seat. LeBron grew up in the district to two Nuyorican parents who also grew up in the district.
In the City Council he worked for the Black Latino and Asian Caucus and for a Brooklyn Councilmember as policy director, concentrating on the New York City Housing Authority, gender equity, restoring social programs and the environment.
“My campaign is focused on expanding tenant rights, aiding small businesses, land use, education reform and transportation, to name a few,” he said.
Some are wondering if Lindsey Boylan might be interested in the seat.
The support of the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club, the area’s main political club, will be key for any candidate hoping to win the 75th Assembly District.
One longtime political staffer, who requested anonymity, gave his take. In the source’s view, Michael Wilson, who is openly gay, would have an advantage running for the district.
A wild card, he said, could be Boylan, who is a known quantity from previously having run against Congressmember Jerrold Nadler and more recently for Manhattan borough president — and, of course, who has high name recognition for being the first woman to accuse Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment. Boylan formerly sat on the C.R.D.C. executive board but reportedly had a falling out with the club after not getting its endorsement in one of her races.
Nicosia and Kern both are currently on the C.R.D.C. executive board.
The insider also said a woman also could have a big advantage in the race since so many of the names being mentioned are men.
“Let’s face it,” he said, “this is a sausage fest.”
As for Speaker Johnson, who dropped out of the mayoral election last year and then finished second in the comptroller’s race in June, the political insider said he’s not part of the discussion.
“Corey’s name is not being mentioned,” he said.
With the Democratic primary election to be held in June, and petitioning set to happen in February, the race should be shaping up quickly. No doubt, more names will soon be added to the mix.