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September 16, 2009: Vol. 1, No. 8
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In the 39th District: Lander crushes four rivals

The Brooklyn Paper

Brad Lander 5,129 (41.1 percent)
Josh Skaller 3,180 (25.5 percent)

John Heyer 2,753 (22.1 percent)

Bob Zuckerman 930 (7.5 percent)

Gary Reilly 472 (3.8 percent)

39th Council District covering Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington and parts of Carroll Gardens, Gowanus and Cobble Hill

Lander, an affordable housing developer best known for his work leading the Fifth Avenue Committee and the Pratt Center for Community Development, dominated his four Democratic rivals, winning all but one polling location outside the heavily Orthodox Jewish, and largely conservative, Borough Park portion of the district.

In that neighborhood, Heyer, who ran on a message of school vouchers and an opposition to gay marriage and abortion, crushed all his rivals, winning 74 percent of the vote to Lander’s 13.

But those conservative votes were a tiny fraction of the more than 11,000 cast in one of the city’s hottest races for the Democratic nomination to succeed Bill DeBlasio, who opted to run for Public Advocate.

Lander said the key to his victory was the strength of his positions on the “issues that matter to the district: affordable housing, livable communities, jobs and good schools.”

“Voters wanted someone with a record of results,” he concluded, accepting the hugs and handshakes of his supporters at Commonwealth Bar on Fifth Avenue and 12th Street in Park Slope.

Surprisingly, Lander won a majority of votes — 52 percent — in Park Slope, a neighborhood that Skaller, a resident, had hoped to run well. He did land 33 percent of the vote, but needed to do much better, considering his trouncing elsewhere.

“As badly as we lost, we also won something,” Skaller told his supporters at Johnny Mack’s on Eighth Avenue and 12th Street. “Before we got into the race, the importance of taking on Atlantic Yards was not seen as serious, the need to fight developers in Carroll Gardens was not on the agenda, and the urgency of a Superfund clean-up of the Gowanus Canal was not understood — but it all is now.”

He said that the reason he did so poorly in Borough Park is that he is a proud liberal who wouldn’t change his message to pander to conservatives.

“It was easy to go into Borough Park and say, ‘I am for gay marriage,’ because I am,” he said.

Though winning the Democratic nomination is tantamount to victory, Lander promised to run a serious campaign against Republican nominee Joe Nardiello.

A Green Party candidate, David Pechefsky, is also in the race.

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