This morning, Andrew Gounardes will send an email to supporters informing them that he intends to run for Senate in the 22nd District representing Southern Brooklyn. This is the seat held by Republican incumbent Martin Golden who was first elected in 2002. Gounardes Challenged Golden back in 2012 and garnered 42% of the vote to Golden’s 57%, losing by slightly more than 10,000 votes. But according to Gounardes, this time around is different because the district has changed.

“It has changed demographically with new, younger families moving in, even though it has always been two to one Democratic,” says Gounardes, who adds that Golden stays in power “because no one ever challenges him.”

According to Gounardes, “most people don’t realize that what happens in Albany has more of a direct impact on people’s lives than anything the City Council could ever do.” He also points to the”Blue Wave” that swept across the mid-Atlantic states and the northeast as a sign that the pendulum is swinging in Democrats’ favor.

Gounardes is not the only Democratic candidate in the race. In September former journalist Ross Barkan announced that he is running for the seat. At the time, Barkan said he was hopeful to get institutional support from Senate Democrats, but he certainly did not expect it. The Gounardes announcement confirms that premonition. Gounardes is expecting to host a fundraiser next Thursday in Bay Ridge. Gounardes, who currently serves as Counsel to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, also worked for City Councilmember Vincent Gentile.

Asked for comment, a senior adviser to Golden says, “Marty is very comfortable running for re-election on his record. He always assumed he would have a challenger.” The source also points out that “The Senator has run against Gounardes before and he comfortably beat him.”

As for 2012, at least one Republican believes Golden would have done better in the race had it not been for Hurricane Sandy, which only a week before had walloped parts of the district displacing reliable Golden voters from their homes.

Senate Democrats have been actively recruiting candidates to take on Republicans holding seats they consider in play for 2018. That includes not only Golden’s seat in Brooklyn but also Hudson Valley and Long Island seats that can sometimes swing red to blue. What remains to be seen is if Democrats run primaries against members of the Independent Democratic Conference or IDC, something Governor Cuomo does not want to see as he publicly calls for the two warring Democratic factions to come together in a show of party unity.

Democrats currently have 32 members in the Senate, enough to form a majority if the IDC, Mainline Democrats and Brooklyn Democrat Simcha Felder joined forces. Felder who also won on the Republican line, conferences with the GOP. But come January when the legislative session begins, the Democrats are expected to lose two members – Ruben Diaz of the Bronx who won a City Council seat, and George Latimer of Westchester who beat Republican incumbent Rob Astorino for County Executive as part of that previously mentioned “Blue Wave.” That would leave even a reunited Democratic Party with just 30 seats, not enough to form a majority.

The earliest Cuomo could call for a special election to fill the two vacancies is March, which is already halfway through the 6-month session with fresh elections looming later that year in November.

In a statement, Ross Barkan says,

“A robust and issue-focused Democratic primary will play an important role in ensuring that Senator Marty Golden is finally defeated. I look forward to a spirited debate over the coming months on the issues that affect our communities.”