There might not be a state legislator who has faced more electoral drama over the past four years than Mathylde Frontus, who represented Assembly District 46 in southern Brooklyn. She won her first primary in 2018 against Ethan Lustig-Elgrably by just 51 votes, out of 7,500 cast. And in 2020, she was way down on election night to Republican Mark Szuszkiewicz, who seemed to believe in the extremist QAnon conspiracy theory. Mail-in ballots, counted later, pulled her through to victory. This year she faced a challenge from a more mainstream opponent: Republican Alec Brook-Krasny, who had previously held the same Assembly seat as a Democrat. Nevermind the fact that he had been caught up in an illegal opioid dealing conspiracy during his time in the private sector – he was acquitted of some charges, and others were dropped – southern Brooklyn voters wanted a conservative, and picked him over Frontus. Now she’s out of the Assembly, after just two terms.
Frontus came up outside of politics. She has three master’s degrees and a doctorate from the Columbia School of Social Work, where she served as an adjunct professor. She founded Urban Neighborhood Services, a local social services nonprofit in Coney Island, and ran it for more than a decade. But even when she got into politics, she stayed an outsider – allying more with progressive groups than fellow, more moderate Democrats in her area. “It had always been me against the establishment Dems here in Coney, but that’s shifting,” she told City & State in October. The shift wasn’t enough to save her seat, but Frontus kept her head up through the end. “I work with whoever is working with me. Because I serve the people,” she said. “The theme of our campaign has always been people, people, people. People over politics.”