More than 30 years later, former City Councilman John Gangemi set to run for Brooklyn Borough President
He doesn't have a Facebook page or Twitter account but that hasn't stopped longshot Brooklyn Borough President candidate John Gangemi Sr. from chasing a new generation of voters.
“I don't tweet or Twitter. I communicate by letters, telephone, email and faxing,” said Gangemi, 74, a former City Councilman who lives in Bensonhurst.
After more than 30 years out of politics, Gangemi is challenging overwhelming favorite state Sen. Eric Adams (D-Crown Heights), who has already raised $420,000 and notched major endorsements.
Gangemi's dark horse run is further weighed down by a family scandal.
In 2003, Frank, his son and law partner, pled guilty to scamming 20 elderly victims out of their life savings.
“He's my son, and I trusted him, and he paid his dues, and he's on to a new career,” said the senior Gangemi, who was not charged in the case.
Frank has been out of prison for five years and now hosts a radio show associated with Howard Stern.
As for the borough president's race, Gangemi said he plans to run a grass roots campaign to introduce himself to voters.
“I'm a door to door man. I ring doorbells,” said Gangemi, who plans to formalize his campaign by filing with the city’s Campaign Finance Board for the March 15th deadline. “That's how I got elected the first time.”
That was in 1971 when he successfully ran as an at-large council member representing the entire borough
But many in Brooklyn, including some younger political insiders, have no recollection of his time in office.
“Who?” asked a political consultant based in Brooklyn.
The lack of name recognition hasn’t discouraged Gangemi, who got his formal start in politics working as a legislative assistant reviewing bills for Governor Nelson Rockefeller.
More recently, Gangemi supported Mark Murphy's failed bid for Congress against Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island). He raised nearly $7,000 and helped put up posters.
“I'm very much involved politically, so I know about campaigns, polling, communicating and advertising,” he said.
Still, his main job has been in private practice, where he was recently honored with a prestigious award for excellence.
If elected, he’ll welcome the ribbon cutting duties of the post, but mostly looks forward to lobbying other lawmakers on behalf of the needs of all the different Brooklyn neighborhoods.
He expects friends and family members to help boost his near- empty campaign coffers - and even hopes to land the support from the Kings County Democratic organization.
“This is not new to me,” Gangemi said. “I'm refreshing and recollecting. I'm not a longshot candidate by a longshot.”