Brian Cunningham wins Assembly special election in Brooklyn

Brian Cunningham wins Assembly special election in Brooklyn
Brian Cunningham

Brian Cunningham has won the special election for Assembly District 43 in Central Brooklyn.

The victory on Tuesday March 22, 2022, is a win for the Brooklyn Democratic Party against a group of progressive reformers who have been harshly critical of party boss Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn’s leadership. 

According to a report, Cunningham led Jelanie DeShong, the Working Families Party nominee, 62% to 35%, with approximately 3,000 votes counted on election night. 

The Republican Party and Conservative Party nominee, Mesidor Azor, earned just 3%. The result will hold according to a spokesperson from the New York City Board of Elections, because even though 1,141 absentee ballots had been mailed, just 168 had been returned as of Monday night.

It was reported that the turnout for the special election was very low.

 "Just over 3,000 votes were cast in the district of approximately 130,000 people.

"That’s fewer than half the 8,612 votes that were counted in the 2015 special election when Diana Richardson was elected. But turnout was higher than this year’s other special elections for the Assembly. 

"Just 1,322 votes were counted in the January special election in East Harlem’s Assembly District 68. And in February, 2,513 people voted in Assembly District 72 in Upper Manhattan, while 2,990 voted in Assembly District 60 in East New York," the report says.

In an election night call with City and State, Cunningham attributed his win to his “commitment to the community,” after he unsuccessfully challenged New York City Council Member Mathieu Eugene’s reelection bid in 2017. 

“The voters know me. The voters trust me to go to Albany on day one to deliver what’s important to them.” 
“Housing is paramount. Criminal justice is essential,” Cunningham said. 

“And making sure that public safety and education are centered in everything we do.”

Cunningham, the director of operations for the National Institute of Criminal Justice Reform, declined to give a clear answer on whether the state Legislature should make changes to the 2019 bail reform law, saying he’s been busy with the campaign and hadn’t “looked at all the positions yet,” but said that he did not think the issue should be tied to the state budget, which is due April 1.