April 12, 2022 By Allie Griffin
Assembly Member Brian Barnwell announced via social media Tuesday morning that he will not be seeking re-election.
“It is with sadness that I announce that I will not be seeking re-election to the NYS Assembly for a 4th term,” he announced via Twitter. “… It has been a true honor to serve, and I will never forget that I owe everything to the kindness of the People who allowed me to serve as their representative.”
Barnwell’s decision was abrupt and a surprise to many political insiders since he had filed signatures with the Board of Elections last week to appear on the ballot for the June 28 Democratic primary.
The 36-year-old — who represents the 30th Assembly District that covers areas such as Sunnyside, Woodside, Maspeth and Middle Village — did not provide a reason as to why he was not running again.
“It has shocked a lot of us. It has come out of left field,” said Steven Raga, Barnwell’s former chief of staff who is running to be a district leader. “I hope everything is ok with him.”
Barnwell took office in January 2017 after defeating incumbent Margaret Markey in the Democratic primary — in what political pundits viewed as a major upset. Markey had been elected to the seat nine times, while Barnwell was a political newcomer at the time. He had worked as an aide to former Council Member Costa Constantinides before running for office.
It is unclear what impact his eleventh-hour decision not to run will have on the election of his successor.
Under election law, Barnwell could play a major role in who is elected to his position. For instance, if Barnwell submitted a document called a “certificate of declination” to the Board of Elections by the end of April 11, a special committee would be formed to choose someone to take his spot in the upcoming primary, according to Democratic District Leader Èmilia Decaudin.
The committee, which would be made up of Barnwell’s supporters, is more than likely to pick someone that the assembly member recommends. If he didn’t file the form his name would remain on the ballot.
The Queens Post was unable to reach Barnwell to inquire why he is stepping down and whether he submitted a “certificate of declination” to the BOE. All calls went to voicemail.
The only Democrat other than Barnwell who has filed signatures to run for the 30th Assembly seat is Ramon Cando, a Democratic district leader who has strong ties to Hiram Monserrate.
The deadline has passed for anyone else to jump in the race — unless they run as an independent. Candidates looking to run on the Democratic or Republican line had to file by April 7 to get on the ballot for the upcoming primaries.
The assembly member’s district underwent significant change during the redistricting process earlier this year. Roughly half of District 30 was removed and reassigned to neighboring districts.
The district was redrawn to connect Queens’ Asian communities in parts of Elmhurst, East Elmhurst and Woodside’s “Little Manila’. The new district population is nearly 50 percent Asian and 19 percent white whereas the current D-30 population is about 27 percent Asian and 39 percent white.