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.
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.
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talk of the towns
Retiring Congressman Ed Towns did not submit petitions to be on the ballot last night, closing the door on his ability to anoint an ally to run in his stead, according to one knowledgeable tipster. This sets up a direct head-to-head match between Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and Councilman Charles Barron in the June 26th Democratic primary.
Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries had critical words to describe incumbent Congressman Ed Towns when the two were competing against one another, but now that Mr. Towns has bowed out, Mr. Jeffries is paying a healthy respect to his record and is seeking his endorsement.
“I commend him for his 30 years of service and the decision that he’s made at this point to move on, and I wish him well at this next stage of his professional career,” Mr. Jeffries told Errol Louis on Inside City Hall earlier tonight.
MoveOn.org will not be throwing a retirement party for Ed Towns. Instead, the message of the lefty cyber community is simple: ”Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
“MoveOn members are excited to hear that after too many years opposing the interests of the 99%, Rep. Ed Towns has finally decided to retire,” says the group in his official statement. “From his vote for CAFTA to his opposition to a free and open Internet, Rep. Towns had long ago stopped fighting for working families so he can support corporate special interests instead.”
With Congressman Ed Towns’ sudden exit from his own reelection campaign last night, the primary field to replace him might very well only contain Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and Councilman Charles Barron. And it’s a match where, in terms of resources, Mr. Jeffries looks likely to dominate.
Indeed, Mr. Barron appears to have only raised $41,000 in the last month, with $40,000 coming from the Councilman himself. He also has another committee, which he used in 2011 and has not filed a 2012 report for yet, where he and his wife gave close to $15,000 out of a bit more than $17,500 raised in total.
Congressman Ed Towns is not seeking reelection, Politico reported in an email tonight, citing “a source familiar with his decision.” This news was subsequently confirmed by the New York Daily News‘ Alison Gendar, who reported that Mr. Towns is making calls to supporters saying he’s not seeking reelection.
Mr. Towns’ reported exit is both surprising and unsurprising. He had no reelection campaign to speak of, but had also recently hired Hank Sheinkopf to handle his communications and was ramping up his fundraising as recently as March.