A Republican lawyer running for City Council in south Brooklyn is under fire for bad driving while cruising the campaign trail.
Inna Vernikov has posted campaign videos while behind the wheel of her convertible Mini Cooper, moving through traffic. In another, she sits with her dog in the front seat, while an unidentified driver seemingly navigates Brooklyn streets while filming her.
She has also racked up 13 citations for zooming through school zones at least 10 mph over the speed limit in the past year-and-a-half, according to public records.
Vernikov unapologetically says she opposes speed cameras.
The 37-year-old Ukrainian native routinely shoots videos of herself addressing voters inside the luxury vehicle, and then posts them on social media.
In a video posted earlier this month on Instagram by campaign strategist Linda Advocate, Vernikov blurted out “Hey guys, I’m driving!” She then went into an impassioned attack on her Democratic opponent in the 48th Council district race, public school teacher Steven Saperstein, for “refusing” to debate her.
In another 11-second clip posted on her Facebook campaign account Sept. 27, she sports sunglasses and holds a small dog while singing along to music and giving the peace sign.
Eric McClure, executive director of the safe-roads group StreetsPAC, called Vernikov’s “distracted driving” habits “very dangerous” and questioned whether voters would support someone who not only opposes speed cameras but has made it a habit of ignoring them.
Saperstein also said Vernikov needs to put the brakes on her “dangerous driving.”
“Her reckless actions are not just a serious concern for fellow motorists, but to the thousands of seniors and school kids in our district, who use our streets every single day,” Saperstein said. “As a father walking with my kids, these are the exact kinds of distracted drivers that I worry about.”
Vernikov defended her driving tactics, saying believes she did nothing wrong because she wasn’t holding the phone while being videotaped driving.
She also doubled down her opposition to speed cameras.
“Saperstein is yet another liberal who wants more speed cameras, who will raise taxes and impose more fines,” she said. “New Yorkers are tired of speed cameras whose goal is to take away more of our hard earned money.”
Vernikov, a pro-Trump Republican who also opposes COVID-19 vaccine mandates, is one of the rare GOP candidates with a chance in next month’s election to win a Council seat previously held by a Democrat.
She and Saperstein are vying to succeed ex-Councilman Chaim Deutsch, who forfeited his seat earlier this year after getting convicted of tax fraud. In an odd twist, Saperstein previously was a registered Republican and Vernikov was a Democrat.
Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans in the district — but Donald Trump trounced Joe Biden in the district in last year’s presidential race, which means droves of moderate-to-conservatives crossed over to back the GOP incumbent.