WFP Will Back Pete Sikora Over Jo Anne Simon in Race for Joan Millman Seat

Pete Sikora. (Photo: Sikora campaign)

Pete Sikora. (Photo: Sikora campaign)

The labor-backed Working Families Party will endorse activist Pete Sikora to succeed retiring Assemblywoman Joan Millman–the second surprise spurning of Ms. Millman’s longtime ally and heir apparent, Democratic district leader Jo Anne Simon.

The left-leaning party will support Mr. Sikora for the soon-to-be empty 52nd Assembly District seat, covering Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights, and Park Slope–home to more than 7,000 voters who pulled the lever for Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the WFP ballot line in 2010.

“We are proud to endorse Pete Sikora for State Assembly.  He is a strong progressive leader with a record of results for everyday families.  We know he will get things done in Albany,” said Working Families state director Bill Lipton.

Mr. Sikora said the endorsement and reputation would give his run momentum.

“Support from the WFP is a big deal for our campaign, and I’m grateful to have it.  The party’s reputation for fighting for good jobs, good schools and good government means a lot to voters in the neighborhoods I seek to represent,” the candidate said.

Mr. Sikora is an employee of the Communication Workers of America–one of the key components in the WFP’s union alliance–and is a member of a Brooklyn chapter of the party. Mr. Sikora, like his rival Ms. Simon, has been heavily involved in the fight to keep Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill open.

The WFP decision marks the second surprise blow for Ms. Simon in two weeks, as earlier this month the influential Independent Neighborhood Democrats club shocked many by voting to endorse Mr. Sikora. Ms. Simon, who has been the district’s female state committeewoman since 2004, said she was let down but believed voters would ultimately honor her years of experience.

“Obviously I’m disappointed,” said Ms. Simon. “I have a very strong track record with the Democratic Party and progressive reform. I believe that the voters will pay attention to a long track record of reform, and community service.”

Updated with comments from Mr. Lipton and Mr. Sikora