SARATOGA SPRINGS — The winner of this week’s race for mayor received a congratulatory tweet from his namesake — a state assemblyman from New York City, also a Democrat and Korean-American.
Ron Kim, 62, of Saratoga Springs, said he’s often mistaken with the state lawmaker Ron Kim from Queens.
“It’s probably going to continue,” the Spa City Kim said.
The two once did a joint presentation for the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association in Albany about running for elected office.
“He’s a great guy,” the mayor-elect said. “The last time I met him, I said, ‘I know you probably think that I put on 30 pounds and lost 20 years, but yes, I’m a Ron Kim too.’”
The 42-year-old assemblyman didn’t respond to a message this week.
Kim of Saratoga Springs said he’s considered the third Asian-American in the state to be elected for public office when he won the city’s race for public safety commissioner in 2005.
The assemblyman has served in his role since 2013 and is considered the state’s fourth Asian-American elected to public office, but the first and only Korean-American ever elected to the New York State Legislature.
The mayor-elect claimed @RonKim on Twitter, while the assemblyman’s handle is @rontkim.
The local Kim said he’s received direct messages, some of them angry, that were intended for the assemblyman, a noted nemesis of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
One message was from a Cuomo aide who accused Kim of Saratoga Springs of “lying” about something the assemblyman had said about the since-resigned governor.
An MSNBC story about the Saratoga Springs Kim once mistakenly used the assemblyman’s photo, according to the mayor-elect.
In turn, Kim said the assemblyman once notified him that a New York City paper once used the wrong Kim photo in a story.
“Probably what’s happened is people just will Google and use whatever comes up,” the mayor-elect said. “I guess it’s unusual that there are two people that are involved in politics with the same name.”
The local Kim said the assemblyman is “more of a Bernie Sanders type of Democrat,” who once wrote a piece about issues relating to socialism.
Kim of Saratoga Springs said at least one publication, a recent debate moderator, and members of the firefighters’ union mistakenly attached him to “extolling the virtues of socialism.”
While the mayor-elect wasn’t as publicly up-in-arms about the former governor’s alleged transgressions of sexual harassment, Kim of Saratoga Springs said he was also appalled.
“I have litigated several cases of sexual harassment,” said the local attorney whose practice covers civil rights and consumer protection.
“The irony of it is Cuomo passed a very good, strong law that has strengthened sexual harassment,” he said. “And yet he is essentially, based on my experience, very clearly one of these people who doesn’t get it, and that’s really stunning.”
Kim of Saratoga Springs expressed condolences to the assemblyman, whose mother and uncle have passed away from the coronavirus.
The state lawmaker has also been outspoken about allegations the Cuomo’s administration deliberately obscured the full scope of nursing home deaths in New York during the pandemic.
Kim of Saratoga Springs praised the assemblyman for speaking out against Cuomo on hot-button topics, considering Queens is a big part of the former governor’s political base.
Contact reporter Brian Lee at [email protected] or 518-419-9766.