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Carlton Berkley jumps into council race to replace Andrew Cohen

Retired NYPD detective has sought a city council seat in two other districts

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No stranger to running for office, Carlton "Chucky" Berkley has filed to run for city council, joining six others seeking to replace Councilman Andrew Cohen early next year. 

The retired New York Police Department detective has vied for several elected offices in the past, including twice for city council in two other districts, and even a shot at the Assembly through his own political party, People 4 Chuck Party.

Five years after ending his law enforcement career, Berkley first ran for city council in 2009, unsuccessfully challenging now Assemblywoman Inez Dickens for her District 9 seat serving the greater Harlem area. The next year, using his own party, he faced Robert Rodriguez, who still represents that particular Manhattan Assembly district today.

In 2013, Berkley made another run at city council, this time in District 16 — the seat held by Vanessa Gibson representing Claremont and Morris Heights.

Berkley raised $13,000 in his first run, according to the city's campaign finance board, which was a fraction of the $155,000 Dickens raised in 2009. He did about the same in 2013, building a campaign war chest of a little more than $12,000. Yet again, it was nothing compared to the $109,000 amassed by Gibson.

He's entering a race where the top three candidates — Eric Dinowitz, Jessica Haller and Dan Padernacht — already have raised nearly $165,000 combined as of the last reporting in July. Other candidates like Marcos Sierra, Abigail Martin and Mino Lora have yet to file any fundraising reports with the city, nor are they expected to until the end of the year.

While in the NYPD, Berkley was a member of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, the Black Law Enforcement Alliance, and the National Latino Officers Association, according to a published bio in 2009. In that same bio, he told voters in Harlem that "if you really want change, and you are serious about it, then come out and vote for me, because it's time for new leadership. Even if you're not going to vote for me, vote for someone, because a voteless people is a helpless people."

Cohen was officially nominated by Democrats to the Bronx supreme court in August, getting the nod by voters in this past week's election. 

He's expected to officially leave his council seat at the end of the year, with Mayor Bill de Blasio likely to order a special election in March. 

Whoever wins the seat will have to run again in November, as Cohen had just a year left in what would have been his final term. 

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