Another Challenger Trying to Unseat John Sampson

John Sampson (Photo: Facebook)

John Sampson (Photo: Facebook)

State Senator John Sampson will have a second challenger if he seeks re-election this year.

Sean Henry, a former City Council candidate, army veteran and Department of Homeless Services administrator, announced today he will take on the embattled Brooklyn lawmaker, who has been indicted twice in connection with an alleged embezzlement scheme.

“He’s running against incumbent John Sampson because the situation going against [Mr. Sampson] is unfortunate, the allegations are unfortunate,” Justin Rush, a spokesman for Mr. Henry, told Politicker. “He’s left out of a conference. He’s no longer operating out of a system of power … he’s basically a politician without any political capital.”

Mr. Sampson, who served as senate majority leader when the Democrats briefly controlled the chamber, was indicted last year for an alleged embezzlement scheme and then again in February for allegedly lying to FBI agents. Mr. Sampson has vowed to fight the charges, but the once-powerful lawmaker has become a personsa non grata in Albany and was booted from the Democratic conference.

But Mr. Henry, who will also battle Leon Miles, another former Council candidate who has filed to run for the seat, faces an uphill slog if Mr. Sampson chooses to run again. Mr. Henry recently lost a race to now-Councilwoman Inez Barron and will need to combat Mr. Sampson’s relatively high name recognition and ties to the eastern Brooklyn district.

Still, Mr. Henry is hoping to craft a formidable challenge. He is already fund-raising and in talks with Brooklyn Democrats about possibly backing his bid. In April, he will be hosting a formal kickoff event, his spokesman said. 

It’s still not clear yet, though, if Mr. Sampson will seek re-election. Legal bills have decimated his campaign coffers and, as of January, he had no money to fund a bid. Mr. Sampson has not indicated publicly what his future plans will be. 

His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.