There isn’t much authority that comes with the position of district leaders, but they do have influence in the direction of the party. They also get a say in nominating candidates when a seat becomes vacant.
And let’s be honest, running for district leader is also good experience for launching a political career in the future, if one were to have political aspirations beyond a post in the party. It’s an opportunity for candidates to begin building a network of supporters and a fundraising stream.
There is a female and male district leader for each Assembly district in the borough, which means there are 46 district leaders in Kings County.
If new progressive voices from the Democratic Party were able to win enough of those seats, they could be a powerful bloc when it comes to making decisions about the party.
The issue is that, again, most voters don’t even know they have a district leader or that it is a competitive seat. Therefore only party faithful vote, and they generally aren’t interested in upsetting the apple cart, if you will.
But that isn’t stopping some from trying, and this year Linda Minucci, the district leader for the 50th Assembly District in North Brooklyn, is again facing a challenger in the June primary.
This time it is from Kristina Naplatarski, a Greenpoint native who, incidentally, has twice competed in the Daily News Golden Gloves. After graduating from Baruch College, she went to work for Councilman Antonio Reynoso.
And she is running a competitive and competent campaign.
She has raised nearly $20,000, and locked down endorsements from City Council members Antonio Reynoso and Brad Lander.
“Kristina grew up in the district and knows her community better than anyone. I can’t wait for her to become the District Leader, so we can get to work on making The Brooklyn Democratic Party the most progressive in the country,” said Reynoso in a statement.
She has also picked up the support of the New Kings Democrats, North Brooklyn Progressive Democrats and Our Progressive Future.
The latter three are likely more important than the first two, as they are groups that have informed voters who will go to the polls and know where to find Naplaratski’s name on the ballot.
But Naplatarksi isn’t the only candidate looking to upset the status quo in the Democratic Party. In Brooklyn’s 52nd Assembly District in Park Slope, Jesse Pierce is challenging Anne Swern. Pierce is also endorsed by Reynoso
As is Samy Nemir-Olivares, who is running against Tommy Torres in the 53rd Assembly District, which includes the neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Bushwick.
With Frank Seddio out as chairman of the party, if these three were able to pull off victories, it would make for a lot of new faces around party HQ.