CROWN HEIGHTS — A member of the committee tasked with finding a replacement for outgoing Assemblyman Karim Camara has taken the Democratic nomination for the seat ahead of three other candidates, including the party establishment's choice.
Guillermo Philpotts took the nomination for the 43rd Assembly District Sunday after a meeting of the district's county committee, which typically chooses nominees for local races, sources said.
Philpotts, a perennially unsuccessful candidate for various local offices, secured the nomination by stacking the relatively small committee with friends and family, according to a report by the New York Observer. Critics said he ignored pleas from the borough's party establishment — including former 43rd District Assemblyman and Kings County party leader Clarence Norman — to back district leader Shirley Patterson, whose campaign racked up endorsements from borough president Eric Adams, State Senator Jesse Hamilton and Brooklyn Democratic Party chairman Frank Seddio.
Shortly after the meeting, Patterson said she was unsurprised by Philpotts' decision, but at a loss to explain his reasoning, saying "I don't know what's in his thoughts."
"I thought maybe he could give [the nomination] to me, but he changed his mind," she said. “I don’t think he will win. I don’t think he will truly campaign,” she added.
Philpotts has run unsuccessfully for a number of state-level seats in Brooklyn over the years, including Assembly Districts 56 and 57 and, most recently, Senate District 20 — a race in which he garnered 5 percent of the vote in September's primary.
Philpotts did not immediately respond to inquiries about the race on Monday.
Patterson said she will continue campaigning to run on the Independence Party Line.
District leader Geoffrey Davis and Diana Richardson have also expressed interest in the seat, which was vacated by Camara who resigned to join the Cuomo administration as executive director of the newly created state Office of Faith-Based Community Development Services. A fourth candidate, Rubain Dorancy, has dropped out of the race, a spokeswoman for his campaign said Monday.
The special election to fill the empty seat is set for May 5, after a judge ordered Gov. Cuomo to set a date to fill both Camara’s vacant district seat as well as Staten Island representative Michael Grimm’s congressional seat.