It’s now certain that Assemblyman Vito Lopez will not be sitting atop of the Kings County Democratic Party in the future, so now the question becomes who replaces him.
The speculation has traveled around between various potential candidates with varying degrees of probability. While it’s impossible to discount other contenders, especially as there may be a big push for a female or minority candidate to replace Mr. Lopez, the early frontrunner seems to be Frank Seddio who has been calling around securing support for the bid.
“I mean I truly believe the party desperately needs someone who can bring everyone together,” one Brooklyn politico who was not exactly a fan of Mr. Lopez’s rule told us. “Someone who understands the nuances and dynamics of Brooklyn politics. And I really do think Frank could pull that off.”
Here are five thinks to know about Mr. Seddio:
1. Frank Seddio Loves Christmas.
Mr. Seddio holds an epic Christmas display ever year. Epic.
“Smurfs will pirouette across the front lawn of Seddio’s E. 93rd Street home, whose shimmer-fest marks the beginning of the season of good cheer for the thousands of revelers who flock there each year to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah,'” read a line from a Brooklyn Daily article on the subject a couple years ago, for example. There are many such articles.
More photos can be found on one of Mr. Seddio’s Facebook pages, the one where his name is actually “Canarsie Christmas.”
2. He’s A Man Who’s Worn Many Hats
From l998 to 2005, Mr. Seddio served in the State Assembly, leaving that post to become a surrogate judge, and currently serves as a district leader and state committeeman while working as an attorney during the day.
Mr. Seddio also heads one of the most powerful Democratic clubs in New York City. With a small army of club members truly willing to carry petitions and do the grunt work of campaigns, the Thomas Jefferson Club has managed to carve out a solidly Democratic slate in southeastern Brooklyn.
The area has been showing cracks in its blue exterior, however, with the upset special election wins of Congressman Bob Turner and State Senator David Storobin in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
3. He Has Some Political Baggage
He resigned from his short stint as judge after coming under investigation for political contributions he shouldn’t have given in that role. He was not, however, convicted or even indicted for a crime. While not the biggest scandal in the world, if he took shots from the tabloids for it while a mere judge, expect the criticism to be renewed should he take the reins from Mr. Lopez’s hands.
Mr. Seddio’s loyalty is one of the reasons he’s loved in some Brooklyn Democratic circles, but it may also come back to haunt him, as he also stood up for then-State Senator Carl Kruger after he was indicted on corruption charges.
“I stand on the belief that you stand by your friends,” he said of Mr. Kruger, who’s now in federal prison. “If that is something that would hurt me so be it. I am not going to shrink away from people that I have a relationship with just because someone made an allegation.”
Mr. Lopez and the influential nonprofit he founded have been under investigation for years, earning rebuke from reformers and good government groups, so Mr. Seddio may not be the clean break with Mr. Lopez’s rocky tenure that some may be desiring.
4. It’s Nothing New
Speculation about Mr. Seddio taking over for Mr. Lopez has been around since Mr. Lopez’s investigations took off in 2010. A City & State article from the time was entitled, “Post-Vito Future In Brooklyn Could Include The Return Of Frank Seddio.”
“Seddio has advanced very nicely through his career being the qualified nice guy who’s around when there’s a need, and who is everybody’s second choice when their initial pick proves undoable,” one Brooklyn Democratic insider told the publication, citing Mr. Seddio, whom most would describe as genuinely likable, as a likely compromise candidate between the various factions in the county’s party.
5. Replacing Lew Fidler
If Mr. Seddio takes the chairmanship, he could instantly scramble a race to replace term-limited Councilman Lew Fidler, as Mr. Seddio was previously a leading candidate for the seat and one cannot simultaneously serve as a political boss and city councilman. Mr. Seddio had been running as the de facto establishment candidate for so long that it’s not immediately clear who else may even be interested.
Several other candidates, notably Mercedes Narcisse, had also been in contention, and their path could potentially become a whole lot easier if Mr. Seddio were no longer in the race.
Or maybe it’ll be someone else entirely who replaces Mr. Lopez. Regardless, these are exciting times in Brooklyn politics.