City Councilman Charles Barron is holding a Congressional exploratory meeting this afternoon in anticipation of a possible run against Brooklyn Rep. Ed Towns.
If he decides to jump into the race, Mr. Barron would be the second challenger to Mr. Towns. Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries opened a Congressional exploratory committee back in May, and his potential candidacy has been generating a significant amount of buzz.
But Mr. Barron, who ran a close race against Mr. Towns in 2006, said neither were an acceptable representative of the central Brooklyn district.
“You don’t have a good choice when you have Hakeem and Ed Towns,” he said. “It’s really Vito Lopez vs Ed Towns. Hakeem is a puppet for Vito. He sucks up to the governor. He is the one who nominated Robert Duffy to complete an all-white state slate. And Towns needs to go. He has been there too long. He is totally ineffective.”
Mr. Barron is right–Mr. Jeffries is an ally of Mr. Lopez, the Brooklyn Democratic Party leader. But Mr. Jeffries is also close to the New Kings Democrats, a group of reformers in the borough who are looking to remove Mr. Lopez from power.
And Mr. Jeffries was selected by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to officially nominate Robert Duffy as lieutenant governor at the state Democratic Party convention last year. Mr. Barron protested the nomination of Mr. Duffy–and the all-white slate of statewide Democratic candidates–by forming his own party, called The Freedom Party.
Mr. Barron received 39 percent against Mr. Towns in 2006, and very easily could have won the race if not for the presence of Roger Green, who previously held Mr. Jeffries’ seat in the State Assembly.
This time around, Mr. Barron said that the presence of Mr. Jeffries would guarantee a win.
“If Hakeem and Towns run they are going to split up the white vote because Hakeem is trying to court the Jewish vote. Hakeem is not taking any of my 15,000 votes. I don’t think there is a single voter for me who is going to say, ‘Now that Hakeem is in the race, I’ve got a better choice.’ But he will take some of Towns’ votes, so I think it is to my advantage that he runs, because then he will split up the machine-type vote with Towns.”
Mr. Barron’s characteristic brashness aside, it’s unclear how many of his voters would pull the lever for his this time around. A significant portion of the vote could have just been anti-Towns, and Mr. Jeffries has been raking in the fundraising dollars. When he ran for governor in 2010, Mr. Barron received under 25,000 votes.
Plus, the former City Councilman has been getting into his usual trouble. Earlier this week he praised the late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi as “my hero.”
Because of this kind of chatter, Democrats in Washington D.C. could make an all-out effort to keep Mr. Barron out of Congress for fear that he could become a national lightning rod.
Mr. Barron said they would have nothing to worry about.
“I would be very effective in Congress because I am very open and honest,” he said. “It would be exciting to say the least.”
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