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Brooklyn Activist Emily Gallagher Unseats Long-Time Assembly Member Joe Lentol

Assembly Member Joseph Lentol (twitter) and Emily Gallagher (Twitter/

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.”

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.

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Neal H Hurwitz

My own experience with Albany pols made me feel many were simply ‘hacks’— esp among the Republicans… I am happy for this new blood but also worried that the Barron effort to kill the SHSAT might prevail, which is NOT good. I have known and studied that situation— the specialized HSs— since childhood in the 1950s, re: Townsend Harris (my dad’s HS at CCNY) and Stuyvesant (I am Class of ’62). Too many people do not know enough about the SHSAT, incl the ‘genius’ scoring by the DOE. And how the Chinese-Am community has succeeded in gaining seats— for example, Stuyvesant is over 75% Asian-Am, mostly from China. TY, Neal Hugh Hurwitz


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