Members of New York City’s Congressional delegation, long relegated to the sidelines of local politics, are increasingly filling the void left by the declining influence of political party apparatchiks.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in Brooklyn, home to Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio and his GOP rival Joe Lhota, as well as public advocate runoff contenders Letitia James and Daniel Squadron. The latest trend from the borough of hipsters, Hasidim and Caribbean homelands is the toppling of incumbents with the help of U.S. Representatives Hakeem Jeffries and Nydia Velázquez.
Standing under a canopy of umbrellas as rain crashed down around them, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries formally endorsed Bill Thompson this afternoon–further helping to solidify institutional black support behind Mr. Thompson’s quest to become the city’s next mayor.
The Fort Greene press conference was billed as an opportunity for Mr. Jeffires to endorse the former city comptroller’s educational agenda, but instead focused on the issue of the day: stop-and-frisk.
Mr. Thompson opposes two high-profile police reform bills that are being pushed through today by the City Council. While Mr. Jeffries said he supports the bills, he argued Mr. Thompson had taken the right stance, given his role.
A jury of his peers may have found George Zimmerman innocent, but–many miles away from the Sanford, Florida case–New York City lawmakers aren’t done with the controversy
The city’s congressional delegation gathered this afternoon in Lower Manhattan to condemn the trial’s verdict, while at the same time, praising the Department of Justice’s willingness to investigate the killing of 17-year-old Trayon Martin.
Adriano Espaillat could not go a single day without a text message, email or phone call from a mayoral campaign operative eager to tout his or her candidate’s momentum. His last name doesn’t carry the weight of a Clinton or Cuomo, but the Manhattan state senator was like Helen of Troy to the many political strategists and surrogates clashing in the most competitive Democratic mayoral primary in more than a decade.
“At the beginning, it felt special. Now it’s very taxing,” Mr. Espaillat told Politicker of the lobbying efforts in the days before making up his mind. “I get phone calls, text messages, emails. I get surrogates calling constantly, union leaders, activists and even friends I know, personal friends involved in the campaigns.”
“They call every day. Every single day,” he marveled.
Congress members Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke today endorsed Ken Thompson in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s race, lending two big names to Mr. Thompson’s challenge against the long-time incumbent, Charles Hynes.
“We need new leadership in the Brooklyn DA’s office that will take on tough cases and not run the other way,” Mr. Thompson, an attorney, said at a Brooklyn Borough Hall press conference this afternoon.
“We clearly need new leadership that’s based on a DA that is tough but fair, that will fight for justice,” he added, likely referencing various controversies Mr. Hynes’s office has faced handling certain criminal cases. “As Brooklyn DA, I will not only fight against crime or corruption, wherever it exists, I will make sure that every case is investigated and prosecuted with integrity so that justice prevails.”