Former City Hall employee Pinny Ringel defeated a pro-Andrew Yang Brooklyn district leader in Tuesday’s election after Mayor Adams and a top member of his team spent an unusual amount of political capital to give Ringel a boost in the relatively low-profile race.
Ringel, who took leave from his job at City Hall’s Community Affairs department earlier this year to campaign for the Democratic Party position in Brooklyn, declared victory on Wednesday after a paper-thin lead by 171 votes over incumbent David. Schwartz with almost all votes counted.
“I want to thank the voters of the 48th Assembly District for choosing me as their next district leader!” Ringel tweeted. “Congratulations to my opponent David Schwartz on a hard fought race and for his past service to the community.”
Schwartz, who served in Yang’s 2021 mayoral campaign and has long been an outspoken critic of Adams-affiliated Brooklyn Democratic Party chairman Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn, did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
District leaders are unpaid and have little formal power outside of the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s internal functions, such as nominating judicial candidates and passing party rules.
But the race for the 48th district leader became extremely important this spring when Adams’s deputy chief of staff, Menashe Shapiro, began supporting Ringel’s candidacy, including urging city councilors to stop publicly supporting Schwartz, whose district parts of Borough Park. covers , Mapleton and Midwood.
The anti-Schwartz push culminated last week with Adams officially approving Ringel’s candidacy and attending a fundraiser for him — an unusual role for a mayor in such a hyperlocal race, said Hank Sheinkopf, a veteran political strategist in the city.
“I don’t remember mayors ever being directly involved in district leadership races,” said Sheinkopf, who used to work for former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “But you have to remember that with this mayor – he has an interest in returning the favor to the Brooklyn Democratic Party, which helped him in the election. He is loyal to a mistake.”
Ringel, who used to earn a $150,000 salary from his City Hall job, will likely have to resign from office as conflict of interest rules prevent most municipal government employees from holding elected office. An Adams spokesperson declined to comment on whether Ringel had resigned from his position on Wednesday.
Adams has been charged with charges that he and Shapiro got involved in the race of district leaders to punish Schwartz for supporting Yang and antagonizing Bichotte-Hermelyn.
But Adams opposed that characterization Wednesday morning.
“We do not intimidate voters. We state what our vision is and I believe Pinny Ringel had a clear vision for our city and he shared it with the voters,” said the mayor. “That’s what happened there and I’m excited that he was able to win the race.”