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Local GOPers to Give Maisel a Run For His Money?

Don’t count your winnings just yet, Alan.Yes, there are a lot of Democrats in the 59th Assembly District, but it’s not the big “D” district it used to be, according to insiders.“The 59th Assembly District is more Republican than people realize,” said Bernard Catcher, the male Democratic District Leader for the district, which includes Marine Park, Mill Island, Mill Basin, Bergen Beach as well as a small part of Canarsie. “Several years ago, we were given Gerritsen Beach and Plumb Beach, where there are a lot of Republicans and we lost Starrett City, which was overwhelmingly Democratic.”Still, Catcher said there are two and a half Democrats for every Republican in the district, which will be selecting their next Assemblyman on February 28, following the departure of Frank Seddio.The front runner in a three way race is Alan Maisel, Seddio’s chief of staff and former president of the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club, who was quickly chosen as the Democratic Party’s candidate for upcoming special election.Voters going to the polls will have to choose between Maisel and Republican candidate Ronald G. Haugstatter of Flatlands and Alice Gaffney of Marine Park, who will be running on the Conservative Party line.“I think that the constituency is more Conservative than others would think,” said Gaffney, adding that “there are a lot of Conservative Democrats in the district.”Gaffney, a state committeewoman and a member of the Conservative party’s executive committee has run in a handful of elections, but has yet to win a seat.According to Gaffney, a polling of constituents in 2005 showed that Seddio only had a 28 percent approval rate among Conservatives.“We do not expect that Maisel would improve that rating,” she said.Gaffney said that she had not decided to run until after Avenue U attorney and Republican candidate Tony Alatsas decided that he was not going to run.“I decided to pick up the slack,” said Gaffney.Expecting a low turn out on February 28, political watchdogs are already predicting a Maisel victory, with one source claiming that a cataclysmic event such as the one in the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” was needed to stop him from being the area’s next Assemblyman.While discussing another matter, a local State Senator, who will not be named, told this paper that he was going to bounce his bills off of Maisel as soon as he’s elected, so he could sponsor similar ones in the Assembly.

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