His name is Brian Doherty, he’s an ex-cop, and he’s running as a Republican against Democratic incumbent Dov Hikind for the 48th Assembly District seat.
Opposing Hikind in Borough Park is like picking a fight with a golem.
A political novice, Doherty has a few things going for him in this David and Goliath cage match. He has no voting record. No lobbyist owns him. He’s a true law-and-order candidate. Ask him a direct question, he gives a straight answer. He has a campaign war chest of $450. He rings doorbells with his daughters, Kiera, 9, and Emma, 7.
“I tell voters that Kiera is my campaign manager and Emma is my press secretary,” he says.
His parents were Irish immigrants who moved to Midwood, where they lived above a pharmacy with their six children. “My father was a tailor working essentially in a sweatshop in Martin’s department store on Fulton St. while my mother stayed home to raise us,” he says. “I attended St. Brendan’s Elementary School and ER Murrow High. I was a Daily News paperboy most of my childhood.”
After high school, Doherty worked for two years as a clerk on Wall Street.
“I entered the Police Academy at 20 and had the time of my life for the next 23 years,” he says. “I worked in Brownsville, Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy, and settled into the 72nd Precinct for 15 years. I married a girl that went to my high school. She’s a city schoolteacher. We bought a house on 74th St. in Bay Ridge, which we could afford because it was falling down, and we had three beautiful daughters, including Abigail, 3.”
All in public schools.
Ex-cop, family man, son of an immigrant tailor. Most politicians would pay to have this kind of Brooklyn working-class hero résumé.
Doherty retired from the NYPD as a sergeant last October.
“I was always interested in politics,” says Doherty. “And with the extra time on my hands, I got swept up in the Tea Party movement. But as I started reaching out to people, to my surprise, the local Republican Party said it was looking for candidates for the state Assembly.”
Doherty’s block in Bay Ridge had been gerrymandered into the 48th AD, consisting mainly of Borough Park and Dyker Heights.
“The Republican Party said I could run unopposed in the primary if I was willing to take on Dov Hikind, a 28-year veteran of the Assembly, with an impressive war chest,” he says. “I accepted their nomination. Shortly afterwards, the local Conservative Party offered their nomination as well.”
This race has been a political baptism for Doherty.
“I immersed myself in campaign finance law,” he says. “I had to find out who I could and could not accept money from. From the outside, I always envisioned politics as this big machine that got behind you and pushed you into office. Not so. A district leader has volunteers collect signatures to get you on the ballot. After that you’re on your own. You have to get your own volunteers. Raise money for flyers, posters, phones. The party lets several candidates share a storefront office at 7620 17th Ave. So far I’ve raised a whopping $450. But I’m running. You have to go out and ring bells and meet people outside churches and subway stations.”
(Source: NY Daily News)