2:26 pm Sep. 19, 2012
Assemblyman Karim Camara, who was floated as a front-runner to become the new Brooklyn Democratic County Leader, announced today that he will support Frank Seddio, the long-time friend of the outgoing party boss, with the hope that Seddio will reform the organization and unify the borough.
"While I am honored that so many people whom I respect and whose opinions I value would like me to run, I am confident that Frank Seddio, will work to establish an inclusive, unified and transparent Kings county political party," wrote Camara, who represents Crown Heights in the Assembly.
The statement in support of Seddio effectively ends the last hope reformers had of electing a compromise candidate to lead the county organization after Vito Lopez resigned the post amid allegations of sexual harassment. But Camara was not technically eligible to serve as county leader, since he does not serve as a district leader.
In the statement, Camara suggested the "at large district leader" positions, which are appointed by the county leader, and insulate the position's power, would be eliminated under Seddio.
That permanent change to the structure of the county organization would be a victory for reformers and progressives, who complained that the number of those positions were expanded by Lopez in order to fend off challenges from rivals.
Seddio, a former Assemblyman and attorney in private practice, is generally seen as a genial, old-school politician, and engenders far less personal animosity than Lopez, even among opponents of the county organization.
Kings County contains more than 950,000 registered Democrats, making it one of the largest Democratic county organizations in the country.
UPDATE: A reader in Brooklyn analyzes the new county organization and questions Seddio's strength:
Taking away the boss-appointed 11 at-large positions makes Seddio much more susceptible to ouster in two years should he not deliver on his promises to reform. Basically, without those seats, a new majority can form amongst the white reformers, Chris Owens from Park Slope (black reformer) and a bunch (but not necessarily all) of the Central Brooklyn AAs. There's also a real question now of whether Seddio can keep his DLs in office in places where Vito had strength, since Seddio really doesnt have any power outside of the Thomas Jefferson Club--though that's a good base to have.
So, once again, it all comes down to whether or not the reformers can expand their coalition and organize to get one of their own in there. My guess is that Seddio realizes he's vulnerable, and will do considerably more to assuage the reformers and potential defectors than Vito ever did. in other words, He'll rule to be loved, not feared.