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Eugene Challenger to Run on Third Party After Primary Loss in Flatbush

 Brian Cunningham, left, is running as a third party candidate for the 40th Council District seat currently held by Councilman Mathieu Eugene, right.
Brian Cunningham, left, is running as a third party candidate for the 40th Council District seat currently held by Councilman Mathieu Eugene, right.
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Composite: Facebook/CunninghamForNYC; Flickr/New York City Council

FLATBUSH — City Councilman Mathieu Eugene will face a third-party challenger in November who says the primary for the Flatbush seat revealed a majority of the area’s Democratic voters want change.

Brian Cunningham will run on the Reform Party line in the general election for the 40th Council District following a loss in the Sept. 12 Democratic primary, he announced to supporters Wednesday.

Eugene won the primary for his Flatbush council seat with approximately 5,414 votes, or 41 percent, of the 13,203 votes cast, according to Board of Election returns. However, Cunningham picked up 3,991, or 30 percent, of the votes while two other Democratic candidates, Pia Raymond and Jennifer Berkley, received 22 percent and 6 percent of the vote, respectively. In total, nearly 59 percent of voters in the district chose a candidate other than the incumbent councilmember.

Cunningham believes those numbers show he will have enough support from Democratic voters looking for an alternative to Eugene, who has held the District 40 seat in Flatbush, Kensington, Prospect Park South and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens since 2007.

“The results of the primary are clear: 6 out of 10 Democratic voters in District 40 wants change,” Cunningham wrote to supporters in an email Wednesday.

Cunningham, a Flatbush native who previously worked with the Obama initiative My Brother's Keeper and served as chief of staff to Councilmember Laurie Cumbo, is already on the ballot for the Reform Party and plans to continue his campaign through November. His priorities include advocating for criminal justice reform, fighting evictions, and making sure New Yorkers have universal health care coverage, he said.

“District 40 needs a loud voice. District 40 needs someone in City Council that will agitate for change every single day — that will stand up for working people. I am running to be that voice,” he wrote.

The general election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 7.