Former City Hall staffer Pinny Ringel defeated a pro-Andrew Yang Brooklyn district leader in Tuesday’s election after Mayor Adams and a top member of his team spent an unusual amount of political capital to boost Ringel in the relatively low-profile race.

Ringel, who took a leave of absence earlier this year from his job in City Hall’s Community Affairs Unit so he could campaign for the Brooklyn Democratic Party post, declared victory early Wednesday after holding a razor-thin 171-ballot edge over incumbent David Schwartz with nearly all votes counted.

“I want to thank the voters of the 48th Assembly District for electing me as their next district leader!” Ringel tweeted. “Congratulations to my opponent David Schwartz on a hard fought race and for his past service to the community.”

Schwartz, who served on Yang’s 2021 mayoral campaign and has long been a vocal critic of Adams-allied Brooklyn Democratic Party chairwoman Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn, did not return a request for comment Wednesday.

District leaders are unpaid and have little formal power outside of internal Brooklyn Democratic Party functions, like nominating judicial candidates and approving party rules.

But the race for the 48th District leader post took on outsized importance this spring when Adams’ deputy chief of staff, Menashe Shapiro, began propping up Ringel’s candidacy, including pressing City Council members to stop publicly supporting Schwartz, whose district covers parts of Borough Park, Mapleton and Midwood.

The anti-Schwartz push culminated last week in Adams officially endorsing Ringel’s candidacy and attending a campaign fundraiser for him — an unusual role for a mayor in such a hyperlocal race, said Hank Sheinkopf, a veteran political strategist in the city.

“I can’t recall mayors ever getting directly involved in district leader races before,” said Sheinkopf, who used to work for former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “But you have to remember that with this mayor — he has an interest in returning the favor for the Brooklyn Democratic Party, which helped elect him. He is loyal to a fault.”

Ringel, who used to collect a $150,000 salary in his City Hall job, will likely have to resign his post since conflict of interest rules bar most municipal government employees from holding elected office. An Adams spokesman declined to comment on whether Ringel had resigned his post Wednesday.

Adams has faced accusations that he and Shapiro got involved in the district leader race in order to punish Schwartz for supporting Yang and opposing Bichotte-Hermelyn.

But Adams balked at that characterization Wednesday morning.

“We don’t intimidate voters. We state what our vision is and I believe Pinny Ringel had a clear vision for our city, and he shared it with the voters,” the mayor said. “That’s what happened there and I’m excited that he was able to win the race.”



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