Republican Lester Chang, who won an election for a Brooklyn...

 Republican Lester Chang, who won an election for a Brooklyn Assembly seat in November. Credit:

The election results in just one of the state’s 150 Assembly districts crystallize key trends and voter concerns. For their own sake, leaders of both major state parties had better pay close attention.

In Brooklyn’s 49th A.D., which now has an Asian-American majority, 36-year Democratic incumbent Peter Abbate of Bensonhurst lost his reelection bid to Republican Lester Chang. Public service unions may now miss an ally with clout in the majority and institutional seasoning to negotiate key legislation.

In that same stretch of Brooklyn on Election Day, Abbate’s former chief of staff, Iwen Chu, won the newly remapped 17th Senate District seat — by just a few hundred votes — over Republican Vito LaBella, a retired NYPD lieutenant.

Chang found his way to his district; he voted only 10 years ago from Chinatown in Manhattan, and his current Brooklyn residence isn’t even in the 49th. Meanwhile, Chu’s campaign promoted her as a “public school mom” and “proud Asian American.” For years, activists have sought to consolidate the borough’s Asian American enclaves as “communities of interest” on district maps.

Not too far away, in the 45th A.D., longtime Democratic incumbent Steve Cymbrowitz lost by a reported 21-point margin in a heavily Russian American district to Republican Michael Novakhov.

All that may sound like identity politics. But last month’s outcomes were far from a mere matter of ethnic solidarity. They were driven by peoples’ stated concerns about public safety, and particularly, the quality of the schools. Also, Chu is believed to have depended heavily on non-Asian votes to get by.

It’s an implicit reminder that Brooklyn is geologically on Long Island — where important turnovers of this kind across demographic groups propelled this year’s regional red wave.

Southern Brooklyn has largely swung middle-to-conservative for a very long time. Back in 1986, Abbate unseated a Republican, Arnaldo Ferraro, to win the seat. These purple neighborhoods helped elect Republican mayors Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg.

For the Kings County Democratic Committee, it is especially ironic that while a favorite son, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries from Crown Heights, ascended to party leader in the U.S. House, Democrats in the borough’s outer reaches groused about a lack of central organization support.

These days, the committee — said to be the largest in the U.S. for a county that’s not its own city — is headed by another Assembly member, Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn of Flatbush. She ran unopposed, but like Nassau County and state chairman Jay Jacobs, has become a logical target of postelection grumbling.

On Election Day, canvassers from the county committee were conspicuously missing, leaving the candidates on their own to drum up help, some Democrats in the trenches complained.

Abbate told the New York Focus website that he unsuccessfully called the organization for political backup. “There was no one to talk to,” he said. “I kept telling them they had to watch out.”

From the other side, Rep. Lee Zeldin, who finished impressively against Gov. Kathy Hochul, has seized the moment to become a vocal cheerleader and informal coach for the GOP. In doing so, he tweeted this week: “Republicans need to campaign much harder in the cities. It doesn’t matter how deeply blue the city is or how convinced people are you will get creamed there.”

Both major parties would do well to hear Zeldin’s words and prepare.

COLUMNIST DAN JANISON’S opinions are his own.

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