Alan Maisel vs. Mercedes Narcisse (and demographics)
5:09 pm • 19 February 2013
When Assemblyman Alain Maisel kicks off his City Council campaign this Thursday a bastion of Brooklyn politics, the Thomas Jefferson Club, he will be running in a district that looks very different than the one his ally Lew Fidler represented at the dawn of the last decade.
Now a majority black district, the 46th District had more whites than blacks when Fidler began representing it in 2002. In fact, the southeast Brooklyn district was 53 percent white and only 33 percent black. By the end of the decade, the district was split evenly at roughly 42 percent. Under the latest proposed (and likely to be final) map, the district is 53 percent black and only 32 percent white. New sections of Canarsie and Flatlands were roped in and the white section of Marine Park has shrunk.
For Mercedes Narcisse, Maisel’s black opponent, an opening exists to win the district. White elected officials can win black districts like Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, for example, but Maisel is running in and open seat and is not an entrenched incumbent. Maisel’s Assembly district is 54 percent black, though, and it’s possible he’s built up enough community ties to win the district with ease.
Narcisse, a Haitian-American, has $48,340 in the bank. She declared her candidacy last year and has been fundraising for several years. Maisel dwarfs her with $116,818.08 in his Assembly account, though transferring money over can be an arduous process (one source suggested it’s best to start from scratch). With establishment backing, it’s still his race to lose.
"Last I heard he was too old and too tired to drive to Albany," Narcisse told the Brooklyn Daily. “That’s why he’s running for Council. He’s just too old.”
Maisel is 67. No matter why he’s running, he can still defy demographics and jump into Fidler’s seat.
UPDATE: Originally, the story stated Maisel’s Assembly District is 67 percent black. It is actually 54 percent. Also, an explanation of transferring money over has been altered.