The fight is on for the hearts and minds of Brooklyn Democrats, who will no doubt be a key voting bloc in the September AG primary.

With none of the five would-be Democratic replacements for Andrew Cuomo hailing from an outer borough – the lone contender who can claim that mantle is the Republican contender, Staten Island DA Dan Donovan – there’s a general sense that anywhere in NYC outside Manhattan is more or less up for grabs.

Sen. Eric Schneiderman locked down some early support in the borough of Kings, with Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson and Sen. Eric Adams among his key backers there. Another outspoken Brooklyn elected for Schneiderman is NYC Councilwoman Tish James.

The Brooklyn Democratic chairman, Assemblyman Vito Lopez, is in Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice’s corner. Today, three Lopez detractors – Reps. Nydia Velazquez and Ed Towns and NYC Councilwoman Dian Reyna – came out for Sean Coffey.

These are the first major downstate endorsements for Coffey, who forced his way into the top tier of Democratic AG contenders (at least where the cash, not the polls, is concerned) by dropping $3 million on his own cash on his campaign and bringing himself nearly equal with Rice’s haul (just over $4 million on hand).

Given the bad blood between the three Brooklyn Democrats in Coffey’s corner and Lopez, it makes sense for them to snub the chairman’s pick.

But David Freedlander wondered aloud earlier today about why this trio had decided to go for Coffey over Schneiderman or his fellow state lawmaker, Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, (who, for the record, has a resevoir of support among Bronx Democrats).

The same question crossed my mind, too.

UPDATE: A commentor makes a good point, recognizing the hand here of Eddie Castell, who works for the MirRam Group, which joined Team Coffey back in April. Castell, who was the campaign manager for then-NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson’s 2009 mayoral bid, has deep ties to Brooklyn.

It’s certainly good news for Coffey, who supporters say could emerge as an alternative to one of the Albany lawmakers who Cuomo has made clear he would prefer not to see following in his footsteps and Rice, who was believed at the outset to be Cuomo’s preferred candidate – largely because of the balance she could bring to the statewide ticket – but has been mentioned less so along those lines as the race has progressed.

Rice is leading the pack in opinion polls. But that’s not saying much at this point, since so few people are paying attention.

Here’s what Towns had to say in a statement released by Coffey’s campaign:

“Over the last few months, I have witnessed Sean’s impressive progress – from a relative unknown to a top contender for the office. His message of independent leadership, effective reform and new ideas is clearly resonating with New Yorkers as he travels the state. ”

“For those of us who care deeply about reform, rooting out public corruption, and holding Wall Street accountable, Sean Coffey provides a fresh perspective and effective leadership.”

…And from Velazquez:

” Sean has never forgotten his humble yet proud upbringing, and will fight hard to protect families like his own from financial crimes – from corruption on Wall Street to smaller scammers who are no less dangerous. ”

“Sean is the son of Irish immigrants who knows what it’s like to struggle, sometimes living on unemployment. He has the expertise and experience to ensure that all New Yorkers, everywhere, always have equal protection of the law.”

…and Reyna:

“I know there is no more qualified, capable and passionate candidate to restore the public trust in Albany. Sean will work effectively to prosecute public corruption and fight against intolerance by defending minority communities throughout the state. Sean Coffey will bring a fresh, independent and qualified perspective to Albany as our next Attorney General.”