Unexpected Reform Victory in Brooklyn Judicial Race
This was a race somewhat under my radar. I knew about it but didn't really take an active role. However, the club my wife is on the board of, Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, endorsed Richard Montelione in this race, seeing it as a chance to defeat a less qualified candidate who happened to be tied to the increasingly discredited Vito Lopez machine.
Overall this was a race between two good candidates. However, the BETTER, more reform candidate won. That is far from always true in Vito Lopez's Brooklyn.
LAMBDA INDEPENDENT DEMOCRATS OF BROOKLYN CELEBRATES THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY VICTORY OF OPENLY GAY ATTORNEY RICHARD MONTELIONE
MONTELIONE WILL BE BROOKLYN'S FIRST OUT GAY JUDGE IN FOURTEEN YEARS
Civil Court races tend to be sleepy affairs, but not this one! The race for Civil Court in Brooklyn’s First Municipal District became heated at times, with some of the biggest names in Democratic politics weighing-in. In the end, Richard Montelione won the race, becoming the first openly gay candidate to be elected to public office in Brooklyn in over 14 years.
Richard Montelione is an openly gay lawyer with over 28 years of legal experience protecting tenants, the elderly, the disabled and those whose civil rights have been violated. He is a former staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society and is a member of the LGBT Lawyers’ Association of Greater NY (LeGal). Long associated with progressive and reform groups in Brooklyn, Richard received the support of Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez who also recently beat back a mean-spirited primary challenge mounted by Vito Lopez, the embattled chair of the Kings County Democratic Party. She was joined in supporting Richard by a range of reform groups and elected and community leaders, including Assemblywoman Joan Millman, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, Assemblyman Jim Brennan, Councilwoman Tish James, Councilman Danny Dromm, District Leader Chris Owens, District Leader Jo Anne Simon, District Leader Lincoln Restler, Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, New Kings Democrats, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, and Independent Neighborhood Democrats, in addition to Lambda Independent Democrats.
Richard’s victory was due in no small part to the support and hard work of members of Lambda Independent Democrats and Brooklyn's LGBT community.
"From the beginning, we knew this was going to be tough race," said LID Co-President Matthew McMorrow. "But Richard had the support of grassroots reformers, progressives and LGBT voters, many of whom knew Richard personally and professionally and knew that he was the more qualified person to become a judge. That Richard is the first openly gay candidate to be elected to public office in Brooklyn in over 14 years made his win last night that much more exciting. LID worked hard for Richard, and we were delighted to celebrate his victory with him and his husband Jack."
LID Co-President Carlos Menchaca added, “Yesterday’s victory for Richard was more than just a single race in the primary. For the first time in 14 years, Brooklyn elected an openly gay candidate to an important judgeship. I can’t help but think about the LGBT law school students, for example, who volunteered on the campaign, who are standing proudly alongside Richard, dreaming of their own futures right here in Brooklyn.”
In other news, reform candidate Jo Anne Simon won re-election (she is one of my District Leaders) but reformer Lincoln Restler is currently behind around a 10% margin. I have heard accusations of fraud on the part of the more conservative, more machine candidate, but have not looked into the details yet. In Brooklyn fraud often is allowed to stand...hopefully it won't be in this election.