Brooklyn’s Surprise Posterchild


So which candidate got the most posters on the most lampposts on the most-traveled Brooklyn thoroughfares to catch the eye of commuters on Election Day morning? Bloomberg, with his bottomless campaign pockets? Ferrer, with his diehard troop of Latino and African-American supporters? Boro prez Marty Markowitz, with his relentless portrayal of himself as more Brooklyn than Pee Wee Reese and Junior’s combined?

Wrong, wrong, and wrong again.

That would be Genine Edwards, Democratic candidate for a countywide spot on the Civil Court, a candidate without any real challenger, who was found “not approved” by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.

Huge portraits of a smiling Edwards lined Court Street all the way from the BQE to the East River. They decorated every pole along Atlantic Avenue, from the Red Hook piers to East New York. All the signs had was her name – and her pretty face.

Funny thing is, Edwards, a personal injury attorney whose mother belongs to former county leader Clarence Norman’s father’s church, was a shoe-in to win her seat even if she’d never put up a single sign. She’s been that way ever since she hired a savvy young campaign manager named William “Tahaka” Robinson, son of Assemblywoman Annette Robinson and a graduate of Norman’s old political club. Last summer, Robinson obtained the agreement of most Democratic county leaders to back Edwards. He then got rival candidates to agree to run for a separate civil court seat, thereby guaranteeing Edwards a free ride and no primary.

Since then, even though her only opponents were marginal Republican and Conservative candidates who never win countywide races in Brooklyn, Edwards has paid Robinson at least $93,000 to handle her campaign.

On election night, Robinson acknowledged to the Voice that he and his crew had worked late into the wee hours to pepper Brooklyn with Edwards’ materials. “We worked like slaves,” he said. “And we had all the polling sites covered.” Why had he done so much postering for a candidate with no real race? “Got to do it,” he answered. “You never know.”

The barrage of Edwards signs only made the absence of Ferrer material more noticeable. While Brooklyn’s new Democratic leader, Assemblyman Vito Lopez, had his organization give Ferrer a nominal endorsement, there was no evidence of any heavy lifting by his troops for their candidate. The failure was amply demonstrated by the dismal returns for the Democrat in the borough: Bloomberg swamped Ferrer, 201,000 to 135,000.

The returns had one bright side for those who have long dogged Norman, and his recent successor, to adopt reforms: the election of new Surrogate Court judge Margarita Lopez Torres, whose narrow primary victory over a Norman-backed candidate had been challenged in court.