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What Were They Thinking – Part II: “Operation Regime Change”

January 3, 2011

A term used by The Duke of Bay Ridge's chief stooge Russell Gallo, who made threats against the 49th AD.

It was the cause célèbre of the summer and stunned the entire party–reformer and status quoer alike.

The 49th Assembly District debacle was one of the most talked about issues in the year 2010 in local GOP politics. Including a battle between two old foes, GOP Chairman ________ “The Duke of Bay Ridge” ________ (I do not refer to the Brooklyn GOP Chairman by name) and former Assemblyman Arnaldo Ferraro, the race centered on two GOP candidates, District Leader Lucretia Regina-Potter and unknown Peter Cipriano.

In the end, both Ferraro and The Duke came out of the race wounded, and today, the district can expect another two years of Democratic representation in Albany. The results left many scratching their heads, but one question about all characters involved stands above the rest: just what were they all thinking?

Now, with some post-election perspective, we can explore that question.


Let’s recap the background on the 49th/establishment clash.

Just over a year ago, 49th AD figure Arnaldo Ferraro was considered the best non-establishment GOP figure to topple the current Chairman. But his last-minute effort to provide Republicans with another choice in the election for Chairman was ultimately unsuccessful. However, The Duke, his ego bruised from his weakened position after his re-election, sought to enact his revenge against the 49th AD leadership.

The Chairman started luring 49th AD poll workers away from their loyal support of Ferraro and his Fiorello LaGuardia Club, which is the backbone of the 49th AD’s organization. The Chairman even went so far as to post an ad on craigslist asking people to sign up to be poll workers. Traditionally, poll worker jobs are assigned by the respective district leaders of the Assembly districts. He also asked Fiorello LaGuardia Republicans to leave their club behind and stand with him.

By these brazen acts, it sent a clear message that even more shenanigans were on the way.

And they were.


By June, signatures were being collected for the 49th AD race to unseat old-timer Peter Abbate, and both Lucretia Regina-Potter and Cirpiano were in the running after a brief court stint. Cipriano was a 49th AD Benedict Arnold, it was said, because he turned on his political mentor, Regina-Potter, to attack her and her ally Ferraro with county support.


The Old Days: a younger Cipriano once worked with Regina-Potter on her past campaign. Then, he turned on her. (Image: The Brooklyn Ink - Katya Wachtel)

By then, according to all accounts, the Chairman was even more “obsessed” with the 49th, even going so far as to place the GOP’s “Victory Center” (a misnomer, I assure you) within blocks of Lucretia Regina-Potter’s campaign office, which she shared with the Grimm campaign.

“It was intentional,” said one source. “Everyone said that was the worst place to put an office. No foot traffic goes over there. It was clear they did it just to mess with Lucretia. They wanted a presence in the 49th. And they did it at Michael Allegretti’s expense in the 13th Congressional District.”

Most likely.

(For more on how the party failed Michael Allegretti, see the previous piece in this series: The Allegretti Question)

Also, Marty Golden minion Jerry Kassar did his part, throwing the Conservative Party line to a juvenile candidate able to legally drink Kool-Aid–but not alcohol.

One person noted that Regina-Potter received a tremendous deal of Conservative voter support in the past, which Mr. Kassar must have ignored…

Meanwhile, GOP newbie Cipriano had initialized his campaign, one that would be filled with, as one emailer told us, “reckless fiscal management” and “drunk sailor spending.” At the end of the day, Cipriano would spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to face fellow Republican Regina-Potter and squandered it all in the race for the primary.


Questions mounted toward the end of August about Ferraro and whether he had effectively planned for the kind of assaults The Duke and his minions were unleashing on the 49th.

The fact is conceded even by some 49th AD supporters that Ferraro “dropped the ball” in the race, appeared to be largely absent, and, of course, ultimately witnessed his candidate be defeated.

The question is why?

The answer from a plurality of insiders was pretty unanimous. “Everyone thought Lucretia was going to win,” said one. “Cipriano was not known, and most active Republicans had voted for Regina-Potter in the past against Abbate, so it was assumed by many that she would wipe the floor with the boy.”

Cutthroat? Did Grimm turn on the leaders of the 49th?

Others have speculated that the Michael Grimm campaign pulled a fast one on the 49th AD leadership, pledging their support of Regina-Potter while actively working for the green Cipriani behind Regina-Potter’s back.

“People were very suspicious about how Joe Kovac (Michael Grimm’s Brooklyn campaign manager) had managed to score a win for Grimm in Brooklyn but Grimm’s endorser Lucretia Regina-Potter was left in the lurch,” one person told us. “Something didn’t smell right there.”

That is an interesting point…

But, at the end of the day, it’s not hard to understand why people would be unfazed by Cipriano. A teenager barely out of high school, the would-be Assemblyman has a very nasal voice and a demeanor reminiscent of Steve Urkel. He was (and apparently remains) a nobody, commenting occasionally on the GOP’s irrelevant talk show that bores their four or so listeners into weekly comas.

“The perception amongst many, even in the Brooklyn GOP leadership, is that he’s a snobbish know-it-all. He’s not the most attractive looking guy (like Grimm or Allegretti, who have looks), and he’s never held a ‘real job,’ with the exception of working for Mayor Bloomberg, which is a turn off to a lot of Republicans.”

And he was going up against a GOP regular, a businesswoman and a mother, who certainly seemed like the sure bet to win.

So why did Regina-Potter lose?

To those we spoke with, low turnout and ineffective strategies on the part of the 49th leaders combined with the GOP establishment’s lure of patronage jobs to those who betrayed the Fiorello LaGuardia Club led to the unfortunate loss for Mrs. Regina-Potter.

But whether the 49th AD support behind Regina-Potter underestimated Cipriano or not, the numbers at the end of the day provided for clear percentage victory for the pro-establishment newcomer.

“It was a loss without a doubt,” one GOP figure said. “But, at the very least, you can say they’ve learned their lesson in the 49th.”

We certainly hope so. We are in the process of reaching out to the 49th AD leadership as we speak, but by one account, changes are already visible.

“She’s changed,” says one friend of Mrs. Regina-Potter. “She understands the reasons why what happened happened, and they are taking steps to assure the GOP establishment never gets a tactical advantage in their district again. Eaton awoke a sleeping giant, and people are very upset with the way he handled this.”

That much is certain.

People are upset with The Duke and his failures this year, which included Mr. Cipriano.

Indeed, it was old hand Arnaldo Ferraro who took Eaton to task in an exclusive printed in The Daily Eagle. Here’s an excerpt:

“There’s no excuse for winning or losing. But there are reasons for losing,” Ferraro said. Looking at elections results then and now, he said, “It’s a simple matter of mathematics, which tells us a lot.”

“Look, this year Abbate won with 7,416 votes and Cipriano lost with 4,659. But in 2008, though Regina-Potter lost to Abbate, she got 5,487 votes. Think about those results with over 800 more than Cipriano,” he said. “Regina-Potter did not have full party support, except here with us, while Cipriano had full party support and had a greater loss.”

Even though Grimm and Malliotakis won, Ferraro noted that Democratic incumbents Congressman Michael McMahon and Assemblywoman Janele Hyer-Spencer topped Republicans in Brooklyn.

That much is correct. After all, The Duke won nothing in Brooklyn. And wounding Regina-Potter merely perpetuated the perception that The Duke is politically bloodthirsty and willing to sacrifice winnable candidates for personal vendettas. In other words, he does not have the voters’ best interests at heart.

In that regard, the 49th AD debacle has probably taught us the most valuable lesson we can learn about the Brooklyn GOP “leadership.”

Even when they win, they lose.

  1. Ferraro/Eaton Realities permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:18 am

    Ferraro isn’t great, but Eaton is a heck of a lot worse. Ferraro has depended on the patronage system for too long, and Eaton finally cut the strings this past year. Ferraro wasn’t ready for that and the house of cards came down. But now that the weaknesses have been exposed, they’re in an ideal place to restore their organization to working order.

  2. Observer permalink
    January 3, 2011 4:43 pm

    This piece really captures the events in the 49th well. Eaton played his part. Ferraro and Mrs. Potter did their parts. None of it was good for the party.

    This was a story that needed to be told. Well done.

  3. Young GOP Kid permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:47 pm

    Excellent post!

  4. Luke Will Always Be My President permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:48 pm

    Accurate and insightful.

  5. Thank you, Francisco! permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:49 pm

    Excellent research and writing! You do the D’Anconia name proud! As for @Eaton/Ferraro Realities and @Observer — I couldn’t agree with you more.

    All the ineffectivenes on “two sides” has placed me in a very difficult position. I cannot support our current failing chairman, however, I don’t feel that Dr. Ferraro, who comes with too much baggage, will be good either. We need someone else to step up to the plate. I await with baited breath…

  6. Accuracy Abounds permalink
    January 3, 2011 6:25 pm

    The fact is Arnaldo Ferraro really means well. He just comes from a different school of politics. He has a great deal of experience, yes, but his old school methods have held the 49th back. Lucretia Regina-Potter had Dr. Ferraro as her mentor, so I think any mistakes she has made during the course of her political career can truly be attributed to Arnaldo Ferraro. That is not to say the county has been all warm and fuzzy to them in any event. The county leadership perpetuated blood feuds that have their basis ten years or more prior to the present day. And as for Marty Golden, he might as well be stuck in a coma for all we know. He is not part of this discussion at all.

    This is 2011. Things have changed. Obviously, though, certain figures have not changed. And egomanicas like Eaton will never change because they would consider it a serious hit to their ego if they did not stand their ground.

    Yes, Ferraro deserves to be respected and honored for his past service, but he needs to take a step back and let younger pro-reform voices in the 49th take root. If he does not, he will only be proving his detractors right: that he’s all about himself and not about the best interests of the 49th.

    • D'Artagnan warns that Golden is anything but in a coma -- he's playing two parts permalink
      January 3, 2011 9:11 pm

      Remember how this blog used to refer to Martin Golden and “The Golden Prince of Bay Ridge”…. In most ways he is that still.

      Golden has neither matured politically nor stepped into his role as a conservative Republican leader. Just look at how bad he looked last fall on things like the Micro-stamping Bill and the NYCTA service and route cuts throughout his district. Even though he’s years too old for the part, Little Prince Martin is still trying to play Little Lord Fauntleroy (just imagine a 2011 Rick Schroeder playing that part now and ask why is Golden trying so hard).

      Make no mistake, that part is only the velvet glove exterior of the state senator, inside he is the balled mail fist of a 70’s Narcotics cop. In the Eaton-Golden relationship, it’s always been Martin Golden who’s been the “Grey Eminence” and Eaton has only been one of the “Castrati” in the choir.

      Though he’s not been up front about it, Martin Golden has been 100% behind the Eaton-Gallo “Regime Change in the 49th” tactic. Golden’s been trying to outmaneuvre Arnaldo for years.

      So don’t be fooled. Even though Golden keeps playing the Little Prince role to the hilt; in reality Golden is a duplicitous dirty Regent-Cardinal in disguise [actually the historical “Grey Eminence” was François Leclerc du Tremblay, a grey-robed friar and the right-hand man of Regent-Cardinal Richelieu].

      So, my brave Musketeers, “En Garde!”

  7. Lora permalink
    January 3, 2011 6:39 pm

    An excellent piece of coverage on a very important race!

    Thanks, Francisco!

    Kiss kiss…

  8. Gene Beer-and-Deli said... permalink
    January 3, 2011 10:21 pm

    Great story Francisco. Thanks for bringing the truth out.


    • Jig Lost Their Sanity permalink
      January 3, 2011 10:38 pm

      Just wondering, were you the one with all those “Yo Mama” Jokes on the Jig?

      • January 4, 2011 12:40 am

        A measly 23 votes on the Brooklyn GOP radio “blog.” Let them vote for Atlas; that’s 23 more readers checking Atlas Shrugs every day. I support open dialog about changing the party system, not voting for “buffoons” or wasting time trying to quash reasonable, dissenting voices.

  9. Realities permalink
    January 4, 2011 3:13 am

    Eaton & Co. can’t just make valid arguments and let the merits of their statements stand for them. They have to impersonate and fake their way through this fight. Which is why they are going to lose.

    Because they’re not smart enough or intelligent enough. They are also nasty, vicious and have a conception of fun that involves digging their enemies’ graves–a kind of mafia mentality.

    Let’s run down the list:

    Russell Gallo sounds like a moron on the “radio” and has limited understanding of the intricacies of politics.

    Craig Easton is a former Democrat who can’t rouse anyone but himself, he’s such a curmudgeon.

    Clorinda come off as mean and nasty in political circles–like the old lady next door who shouted at you for even looking at her lawn.

    Cipriano has a voice only a mother could love and is so boring his slight intellect is lost in the bubbles of stupor surrounding his two sleeping listeners.

    Gene B. actually smells (it’s a fact) and is a two-faced half-wit.

    Marty Golden is a failed politician who has seen his borough fall into chaos and division while he continues to lose more and more respect in Republican circles (and money).

    Gerry O’Brien is persona non grata in politics given his controversial tactics and the allegations of extreme conduct that surround him, including theft and assault.

    Jeffrey Kraus is a Democrat-cum-hack who cursed out a citywide Republican candidate and has to come over the bridge from Staten Island to offer aid and comfort to the Cabal.

    This is the best the Bay Ridge GOP has. That’s it. That’s their list.

    Face it, guys: you’re toast.

  10. Roy Galt permalink
    January 4, 2011 9:46 am

    So, Roy when you mean dialogue, do you mean this.

    Roy Antoun September 2, 2010 9:48 am
    “I feel threatened by your comment. Can we take it down?”

    Just wondering….

  11. Hate Blog's latest victim permalink
    January 4, 2011 4:24 pm

    Those blogging over there decided to attack Yvette Bennett. Shame on them!

    • It's like a replay of the latter days of 2009 – an attempted inundation of ASIB with hostile commentary – then one-on-one attacks at the identifiable independent/reform Republicans permalink
      January 4, 2011 9:37 pm

      In insider told me that back then it came directly from Eaton, who was pushing Gallo to do rapid response to ASIB posts and comments.

      Also Eaton was obsessed with suing somebody/anybody/everybody at ASIB back then as well.

  12. "If you think an intelligent, educated, self-respecting person..." means "Craig Eaton" permalink
    January 4, 2011 10:41 pm

    On 1/4/11 at TJIUA in the comments thread of “Breaking News: Roy Antoun and Jonathan Judge Confirm They Are Against Joseph Hayon!!!” a 1/3/11 post of “AAA”, “Anonymous said… *** ‘Eaton & Co. can’t just make valid arguments and let the merits of their statements stand for them. They have to impersonate and fake their way through this fight. Which is why they are going to lose.’ *** Craig has nothing to do with this. If you think an intelligent, educated, self-respecting person would write the crap that appears on this blog [TJIUA] and on Atlas, you must be as low class as the ‘bloggers[’.]”



  13. Yvette Velazquez Bennett posted a link critical of the "Kinder Gentler" version of "Marxism" peddled by POTUS Barry O[couple of names] permalink
    January 5, 2011 11:15 pm

    “The Jig is Up Atlas” is up to their usual lying character assassination. This time the target was YVB.

    In 2009 Chairman Craig Eaton allowed the “Merlin of Malice” to get away with highway robbery in the 44th A.D. Faced with Bennett’s charges of stolen petitions, Eaton whimped-out with a “profile in courage” that went something like this: “I really don’t know who to believe…”

    In 2011 Eaton and his hate bloggers are part and parcel of a preemptive theft of someone’s good name.

    The title of the abbreviated article and link posted on Bennett’s home page is clearly IRONIC. The “Kinder and Gentler [Karl] Marx” refers to the left-wing socialist agenda of the current Democratic Administration and President Obama.

    Yvette Bennett clearly did not espouse any position as that of any “Kinder Gentler Marx”. The 24-Hour onslaught against Ms. Bennett is just another case of defamation using two(2) libelous posts and two (2) separate threads of several equally slanderous comments.

    Of course the most obnoxious part of the Jig is Up’s whole effort is that it was gratuitously over-spiced with some strong anti-religious overtones (strongly suggesting that Ms. Bennett is hypocritical and selective in her openly practiced Christianity).

  14. Brooklyn GOP Chairman Eaton redefines "Regime" at Grimm's "Brooklyn" Oath of Office Ceremony permalink
    January 10, 2011 1:18 am

    Kings County Republican Chairman Craig Eaton must have learned some strange and secret history and civics lessons over the years. Why else would he try to communicate such a strange and esoteric view of the local political scene to those gathered at Michael Grimm’s swearing-in on Sunday at the K of C at Bay Ridge Parkway and 13th Avenue. According to Mr. Eaton, the election of the “Triumvirate” of Golden, Grimm and Malliotakis meant that the old regime had been restored as far as the Brooklyn GOP was concerned.

    Members of a “Triumvirate” and representatives of a “restored Old Regime” are not the way many voters would like look upon their most recently elected Republican representatives.

    In fact, historically, isn’t the rise of the “Triumvirate” synonymous with the demise of a functioning republic in Rome; and similarly wasn’t the restoration of the “old regime” under Louis XVIII and government under a Chartes of Rights was not a long-term success.

    As the ministerial person principally charged with supervising the restoration of the Old Regime, wouldn’t Chairman Eaton be analogous to Tallyrand (Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand Perigord) — and didn’t Napoleon refer to Tallyrand as “Sh-t in silk stockings”?

    btw, why wasn’t the event scheduled at the larger and more prestigious Archbishop John Hughes Council K of C in Dyker Heights?

  15. Correction: it was at the Hughes Council K of C that Eaton jabbered about trios of Romans and Louis XVIII permalink
    January 10, 2011 9:53 pm

    Craig Eaton did his pontifex minimus to ancient regimes and Great Ceasar’s Ghost at 86th Street and 13th Avenue, not 75th and 13th.

  16. What [ARE "WE"] Thinking – Part II: “Operation Regime Change” permalink
    January 18, 2011 7:23 am

    Last night about ten independent Republicans met in downtown Brooklyn.
    At least three of them will be likely candidates for the Republican State Committee (another, a current member of the Republican State Committee, was recognized and contributed materially and mightily based upon her own experiences).

    This rump group of Republcian activists is planning their own roll-out soon after KCRP Chairman Craig Eaton’s “County Committe Initiative”. WTD (yes, we’re back)

    • Today's TJIUA post "Craig Eaton: A Real Brooklyn Reformer" permalink
      January 18, 2011 9:26 pm

      Edit “Craig Eaton: A Real Brooklyn Reformer” should be
      “Craig Eaton: A Real Brooklyn Paranoid” but even paranoids do have

  17. What Is He Thinking --- Part II: "Operation Regime Change" permalink
    January 20, 2011 9:26 pm

    Will Joan Braunstein be on the outside looking-in after 2011?

    Craig Eaton and [a woman other than Joan Braunstein] were brought together by a Republican activist and future “leader”…….. [a woman other than Joan Braunstein] said, “I want to run for district leader in the 45th A.D…….” After some discussion, Craig Eaton (remember he is the KCRP Chairman) said, “You have every right to run for District Leader if you want to.”

    Who of the sitting District Leaders won’t Craig Eaton throw under the bus as he “rebuilds” the Brooklyn GOP in 2011?

    • This comment was about Joan Braunstein... but it's okay with us for Eaton to throw them all under the bus permalink
      January 22, 2011 10:39 pm

      We have not spoken by phone or otherwise to any “disheveled fake Republican activist…” lately, certainly not since last Monday’s meeting (but we did speak to somebody else and we know that Eaton did too). But we made some calls for you to check it out. This meeting was widely known “to those in the know”… ask around on with the other-side’s guys.

      btw, it’s not nice to refer to FV as a “penguin character” (she doesn’t seem to be like that at all — maybe Eaton gets that because of her accent) and JH is not really a “disheveled fake Republican activist…” After all, he did get over 43% of the vote in 2010.

      Nobody has denied that this meeting occurred or that KCRP Chairman Craig Eaton said the quoted material attributed to him. However, we think it was said to FV not to JH. We’ll call her and PHONE YA with the results!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! Obviously Eaton talks to them AND OTHERS more than we do … why not ask him about all of that.

      • [Eaton, himself?] is sounding like Ralph Kramden going, "HOMINAH-OMIDAH-HOMIDAH!!!" permalink
        January 23, 2011 5:17 pm

        Nobody here needs any excuses.

        Eaton is the one throwing his “Republican activists and leaders” under buses (as many as it takes it seems). It really doesn’t matter to us if if their initials are FV and JH or JB, BP, CA, SS, VB and EG.

        Of course [Eaton’s?] comment in TJIUA rebuts not one word of the two items above (don’t believe me, read it for yourself): “We have spoken by phone last week, (Tuesday) actually to a fellow ‘disheveled fake Republican activist…’ lately, certainly after last Monday’s meeting (but we did make sure we did it on the tax-payer’s watch [btw, that’s really a no-no!!! WTD]). But we also made some calls to that disheveled fake Republican activist’s ‘partner’ if you know what I mean. This meeting was not widely known ‘to those not in the know’.”

        [btw, we have many many sources on all sides ot this fracas, and our research has been second sourced. WTD]

  18. What good is "Tactical Suprise" in the middle of a "Strategic Blunder"? permalink
    February 3, 2011 9:19 pm

    Isn’t the shift of focus to the Brooklyn Young Republicans a distraction from the main battle field in the 49th, before victory there was completed? Isn’t this like May 1941 when YKW ceased his aerial onslaught against London and other British cities and moved the Luftwaffe East to support the June Operation Barbarossa attacks on Russia”?


  1. Fiorello LaGuardia Organization: Brooklyn GOP Is Even Weaker After “Pyrrhic Victory” in 49th « Atlas Shrugs in Brooklyn

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