Straight owner of gay bar challenges Tom Duane's chosen successor (from the left)
Democratic State Senate candidate Brad Hoylman has locked up the support of nearly the entire Democratic establishment in his bid to succeed Tom Duane, and his opponent is trying to use that against him.
"We don't just line up behind the guy whose turn in line it is," said Michael Oliva, a consultant to Hoylman's Democratic opponent, Tom Greco, a bar owner. "That kind of closed-mindedness and strict adherence to authority is for the Republicans."
The race is for the seat being vacated by Tom Duane, the first openly gay member of the State Senate, who represented the West Village for more than a decade. It's a safe seat for any progressive Democrat.
The race is, Greco's campaign hopes, a chance to redefine what that means.
Hoylman, like Duane and the area's councilwoman, Christine Quinn, is openly gay. He's engaged and is the father of an 18-month-old girl.
Oliva argues that, in contrast to Hoylman, a former general counsel to the pro-business Partnership for New York City, Greco is the true liberal in the tradition of the famously progressive district.
"Many of the voters in this district struggled for civil rights in the 50s, 60s and 70s, demonstrated against wars and violence and sexual intolerance, and stood up to all manner of human injustice," he said. "They elected Bella Abzug. We want to spark that sense of rebelliousness which still burns deep within them."
Hoylman's campaign manager dismissed the Greco campaign's criticism and stressed Hoylman's record as a longtime Democratic district leader and LGBT activist.
"Brad's track record as a progressive activist speaks for itself," campaign manager Jason Berkenfeld said. "For more than 20 years, he's been a vocal LGBT advocate, helped bring two new public schools to the district, set up a million dollar legal defense fund for tenants, and fought for and won millions of dollars for new parks in the area."
Hoylman has been endorsed by the Working Families Party and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, as well as virtually every local Democratic official, including Duane.