Earlier today Jewish elected officials and community leaders like former Mayor Ed Koch, Congressman Jerry Nadler and Assemblyman Dov Hikind gathered in lower Manhattan to denounce Brooklyn congressional candidate Charles Barron as an “anti-Semite” who is “anti-Israel” and “a scary monster.”
Asked this afternoon for a response, Mr. Barron, a City Councilman and one-time Black Panther, didn’t take the bait, calling the presser a distraction designed to blunt the momentum of his campaign.
“Most of them don’t live in the district or don’t represent the district. The few who may represent a part of it never called me up to discuss anything with me. This is a distraction becaue my campaign is gaining momentum. My campaign is looking better and better each day with the endorsement of DC37, with Congressman Towns, with the Amsterdam News, and the fact of the matter is that when I travel all throughout the district,” he said, “And nobody—and I went before the Jewish press and the Russian -Jewish press and Russian Jewish leaders–and no one has raised those kind of issues.”
A slew of elected officials including Congressman Jerrold Nadler, former Mayor Ed Koch, Assemblyman Dov Hikind and Councilman David Greenfield teamed up this morning for a press conference denouncing longtime councilman and current congressional candidate Charles Barron as an “anti Semite,” “scary monster” and “bigot.” They also had harsh words for Congressman Ed Towns whose retirement opened up the seat and who endorsed Mr. Barron earlier this month.
Mr. Nadler said he specifically asked Mr. Towns not to endorse Mr. Barron.
“His response was that he would think about it and do what he thought proper,” Mr. Nadler told The Politicker.
He said he hasn’t spoken to Mr. Towns since.
Former Mayor Ed Koch, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Councilman David Greenfield, Assemblyman Dov Hikind gathered with several other elected officials in front of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park this morning for a press conference billed as an effort “ to Denounce Charles Barron as Enemy of the State of Israel” and the Jewish community. The politicos who showed up at the event where longtime councilman Mr. Barron was branded “hateful,” a “scary monster,” “anti-Semite” and “bigot” also expressed their support for his rival in the congressional race, Hakeem Jeffries.
“What prompted me … speaking of people that just are not familiar with Charles’ record and they just dont know who Charles Barron is, that’s a very scary thing. Right?” asked Councilman Greenfield, who organized the event. “People are not familiar that there’s an individual who’s running, who we all know very well, who is an anti-Semite, who’s a hate-monger and who’s a bigot. I think it’s very important for us to educate the public and let them know who this individual is.”
Last month, The Observer wrote a piece detailing how the New York Times endorsement process works, what the editorial board looks for in a candidate, and how much getting the gray lady’s nod determines who emerges victorious on election day.
Now, with New York’s federal elections only a few weeks away, we take a look at each of the competitive elections on June 26, take a guess at which way the paper will go and deduce what kind of an effect it will have.
Disagree? Make it known in the comments.
U.S. Senate Republican Primary—Bob Turner vs. Wendy Long vs. George Maragos
It is no by means a certainty that The Times will endorse in the GOP Senate primary, and if they do, expect it to be a hold-you-nose-and-vote-for-the-guy-who-is-marginally-better-than-the-rest kind of endorsement. Expect something along the lines of the paper’s endorsement of Mitt Romney in the presidential primary in April, in which they mocked Mr. Romney for abandoning his moderating tendencies and slammed GOP extremism before declaring the Massachusetts governor “the best choice of the field.” For this little noticed Senate race for the right to go up against Kirsten Gillibrand, the paper is likely to go with Bob Turner, a Queens businessman-turned-congressman, who is far less strident in his social views than Wendy Long and more dynamic than George Maragos. Mr. Turner is running very much as the candidate of New York City, and hometown pride may count for something here.
Councilman Charles Barron and Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, both candidates for an open congressional seat in Brooklyn, don’t really like each other very much. At least, that’s the most obvious impression from a debate between the two Democrats on Inside City Hall last night.
It started off with Mr. Barron calling Mr. Jeffries ”negative and immature” and a “sore loser” over his dismissal of retiring Congressman Ed Towns’ endorsement.
Both Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and Councilman Charles Barron said they would like retiring Congressman Ed Towns’ backing for his own seat, but only one of them, Mr. Barron, received it. And, not long after Mr. Towns’ endorsement event earlier today, Mr. Jeffries’ spokeswoman Lupé Todd described Mr. Towns’ decision in rather skeptical terms.
“Charles Barron has emerged from the backroom to consummate a shotgun marriage with a sworn political enemy,” Ms. Todd said in a statement, referencing Mr. Barron’s multiple campaigns against the incumbent.
Congressman Ed Towns, who rather suddenly endorsed Councilman Charles Barron for his congressional seat this year, is fully behind Mr. Barron’s candidacy. Indeed, with a big smile on his face earlier today, Mr. Towns swore to put every resource he has into electing Mr. Barron, which he assured reporters would happen as the “Charles Barron for Congress” song blared from the lips of a throng of supporters around him.
“Why?” Mr. Towns asked himself to start off his speech. “Well, I’m glad you asked the question. We need a strong voice in Washington D.C., a person that’s independent and is going to tell it like it is.”
We’ve been heavily hinting at the probability all weekend, but it can now be said for sure: Congressman Ed Towns will endorse his former opponent, Councilman Charles Barron, for his congressional seat tomorrow afternoon. Mr. Barron is competing against Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries in a high-profile Democratic primary election June 26th.
Various Brooklyn politicos have told The Politicker the decision can be attributed to the tension between Mr. Towns and the head of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, Assemblyman Vito Lopez. In addition to supporting Mr. Jeffries this year, Mr. Lopez opposed Mr. Towns’ daughter when she unsuccessfully ran for the State Assembly last year for the seat held by her brother, Darryl Towns.
DC 37, the public employees union with the largest membership in New York City, announced their congressional endorsements this cycle for competitive primaries, which went to Councilman Charles Barron, Assemblyman Rory Lancman, and Rep. Nydia Velázquez. But it is the endorsement for Mr. Barron that stands out the most, as the rest of organized labor has gotten behind Mr. Barron’s opponent, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, as the two battle to succeed retiring Rep. Ed Towns.
The issue of co-locating charter and public schools in the same building is a contentious one, and at an education hearing discussing the topic yesterday afternoon, the first two Council Members to speak thoroughly attacked the proposals in their districts.
“Co-location has been nothing but chaos,” East New York Councilman Charles Barron declared while criticizing the poor graduation rate among black and Latino students. “If you go into some of the schools in our district, you will see that the battles around co-location are taking away from serious educational approaches to our children.”