July 23, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Brooklyn activist Emily Gallagher has unseated 46-year incumbent Joe Lentol to represent Greenpoint and Williamsburg in a stunning defeat.
Gallagher beat out Lentol, one of the longest-serving members of the State Assembly, with the support of absentee voters in the Democratic primary for the 50th Assembly District.
She trailed Lentol by more 1,700 votes on election night. However, an unprecedented number of absentee ballots pushed Gallagher ahead to win the race.
She tweeted Tuesday that her campaign was ahead by 265 votes — and growing.
The Board of Elections has not yet released any official primary counts. However, Lentol issued a statement Wednesday conceding to Gallagher.
“It’s decided: The voters in the 50th Assembly District voted for change,” he said. “It’s been a great honor to represent the people of North Brooklyn in the Assembly. I’m proud of my years of service, delivering important legislation and always attending to constituents’ needs.”
He wished Gallagher — who is expected to easily win the general election in November — well in her new role in the Assembly.
Gallagher, a member of Brooklyn’s Community Board 1 and the founder of the Greenpoint Sexual Assault Task Force, celebrated her victory Wednesday.
“I can’t believe I am writing this but it’s official: we won,” she wrote on Twitter. “This was a collective and truly grassroots campaign, powered by a deep love for North Brooklyn and a desire to make it better. Thank you so much for believing in me, against all the odds.”
I can’t believe I am writing this but it’s official: we won.
This was a collective and truly grassroots campaign, powered by a deep love for North Brooklyn and a desire to make it better.
Thank you so much for believing in me, against all the odds. pic.twitter.com/zcW8byPeon
— Emily Gallagher for Assembly (@em4assembly) July 22, 2020
Several other New York City incumbents were knocked from their Assembly seats by insurgent candidates in this year’s primary.
In Queens, housing counselor Zohran Mamdani beat incumbent Aravella Simotas to represent the 36th AD; lawyer and CUNY professor Jenifer Rajkumar unseated Michael Miller to represent the 38th AD and progressive activist Jessica González-Rojas took Michael DenDekker’s seat for the 34th AD.
I’m sure Gallagher will be a disaster, but 46 years is ENOUGH. We need term limits. 10 years and you’re done.
Agree. I talked to people who are involved with local politics and the knock on Lentol by some of them was he only showed up during campaigning season and the knock on Gallagher is that she is a identity/social engineering obsessed socialist ready to bring back NYC to the 1970s when it was almost destroyed.
10 yr limits seem like the way to go, not too short and not too long.
Being progressive is fine but show up 365 days a year and socialism never worked in America.
In fact, Joe Lentol’s track record is excellent – present in office and open door policy to constituents – he truly fought for individuals, no request was too small if it mattered to a resident in district 50! I wanted him to go for one more term and then enjoy his well deserved retirement – not be unseated by new voters enthralled by a cute social media and pink poster campaign with the right hashtags. GUTS me that new residents of our district have NO IDEA how great a man Joe Lentol is – they write him off as some old white guy who is unaware of the issues – when he’s been fighting on the progressive side for decades!
Joe is a nice and good man. However the knock on him by some people in the area was that he basically showed up at events, said he had other commitments to make and then you never heard of him again till Election Day.
An example of this was alternate side parking. Greenpoint has an onerous four day schedule for countless yrs. Lentol could not change it in the many yrs he was in.
Mayor DeBlassio, who I am not a big fan of, changed it in one day when the pandemic started even though the city lost money on it. I often joke with people I would vote for DeBlassio again and they say didn’t you tell us you did not like his record. I said yes but he made up for him by changing alternate side which is sacred here in Greenpoint and Lentol could not do it in app. 50 yrs.
One thing I will say positive about Lentol was that he was honest, never got caught up in criminal scandals like so many of his colleagues in Albany.
I often joke that is the minimum you want from a pol. not to be a legal crook.
As for term limits, we already have them. It’s called VOTING. Not happy w/someone? Out they go!
You tell them! However term limits are a hedge against the stupidity of the public. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in democracy but ever now and then people do incredible stupid things like seceding from the union in 1865 and electing an ego maniac pathological lying demagogue like Trump who wants to be King and do away with democracy.