Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday endorsed a former staffer over the Democratic Party nominee in an upcoming race to replace Brooklyn State Assemblyman Nick Perry.
During a press conference held where 12-year-old Kade Lewin was shot dead, Adams announced he is backing former aide Hercules Reid in the May 24 special election to succeed Perry, who represented East Flatbush, Canarsie and surrounding neighborhoods before being chosen to serve as the US ambassador to Jamaica.
“Hercules is not new to this; he is true to this,” the mayor said in East Flatbush, praising Reid’s “undying support” of Brooklyn residents during the COVID-19 pandemic when working for him as a borough president staffer.
“You don’t have to go into the biblical text to understand we have our own Hercules. We have our own strong man, we have a person who will bring that strength to Albany,” the mayor added, appearing to conflate the Roman adaption of a hero in Greek mythology with the Bible. “We need partners like Hercules. Hercules Reid is the right person to lead the city and the state in the right direction.”
Reid — who earned about $4,000 a month assisting Adams at mayoral campaign events in 2021 after serving as a special assistant to Adams’ then-senior adviser Ingrid Lewis-Martin — will face off against Democratic Party nominee Monique Chandler-Waterman in the May 24 election.
Chandler-Waterman — a longtime activist and former staffer to Public Advocate Jumaane Williams who ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2019 — in April obtained the Democratic Party ballot line.
Throughout the Wednesday morning news conference, Sandra Michelin, 51, heckled Adams and Reid, 29, accusing the pair of exploiting Kade’s tragic killing last month for political gain.
“The issue that I have is … I’m sick and tired of politicians that come into the neighborhood and use crime scenes for their own benefit,” Michelin, a friend of Kade’s family, fumed to The Post in a subsequent phone interview. “It’s literally not even a month since the kid died, and [they’re] using this location where the kid died to have a campaign [event] when he could’ve gone somewhere else.”
“To me, that was very disrespectful. When you come around us, you weren’t coming with a good intention,” said Michelin, a Chandler-Waterman supporter who has lived in East Flatbush for more than 30 years. “So, to me, I just feel violated.”
A rep for Adams — who ignored Michelin during the event and was a last-minute no-show at Kade’s funeral due to an unspecified “scheduling conflict” — did not immediately respond to her criticism of using the location as a campaign event. Reid also did not return a request for comment.
Ahead of the endorsement announcement, Reid told The Post Tuesday in a phone interview that if Chandler-Waterman were to win the election, “it would be business as usual.”
“For too many years they have not had the choice. If we look at the outgoing Assembly member who was there for 30 years, the community never had a choice,” he said of Perry, who has represented parts of Brooklyn in Albany since 1993. “We jumped into the special, because we were tired of business as usual.”
Reid, who will be on the ballot after petitioning for a third-party spot, said crime and education will be his key priorities if Brooklyn voters send him to Albany.
Asked if he’s aligned with Adams’ moderate stances on public safety issues, Reid replied, “I am aligned with my community.”
“Eric understands this community. I’ve knocked on thousands of doors and the number one issue is safety. We have the data of all the people we’ve spoken to, and the number one concern in this community is guns and safety,” he explained.
“I will be focusing on public safety and quality of life — not because of Eric Adams, but because of what my community is telling me,” added the former aide to the mayor, who launched his Assembly campaign in November.
“I know where it’s going to be a herculean task to get the job done. I also know that no one is going to fight harder for this community than someone named Hercules,” he quipped.
Reid, who first met Adams as a student leader at CUNY’s New York City College of Technology, also insisted that the mayor endorsing him should not be interpreted as him rebuffing his own party.
“Eric is not trying to buck the party. He’s been pro-county, and pro-Democrat, and I don’t think it’ll change now,” he told The Post. “This is just a very unique situation.”
Chandler-Waterman, who works for the city’s Test and Trace Corps, earned the unanimous support of the district’s County Committee members, according to the Brooklyn Paper, but Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn has so far stayed out of the race.
The May 24 special election comes about a month before the June Democratic primary. The candidate who wins in less than two weeks will hold the Assembly seat until the end of 2022, and the winner of the June 28 primary will compete in the November general election, and if successful in it, begin serving a standard two-year term on Jan. 1.
In her 2019 bid to serve on the City Council to replace Williams after he was elected public advocate, she earned the support of progressive local politicians and left-wing groups while opponent Farah Louis, who now represents District 45, received endorsements from establishment Democrats like Bichotte as well as Orthodox Jewish politicians.
The mayor’s Reid endorsement comes after he supported Nikki Lucas and Brian Cunningham, both of Brooklyn, in state Assembly primaries as well as East Harlem’s Eddie Gibbs.