Even though it is heavily African-American, the newly reconfigured 8th Congressional District that Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and Councilman Charles Barron are competing for includes some neighborhoods that contain concentrated Russian Jewish communities. And some of the activists in these neighborhoods are rather uncomfortable with Mr. Barron’s anti-Zionist advocacy and support for African dictators, so they held a press conference yesterday evening to urge their neighbors to turn out to vote for Mr. Jeffries.
“Our goal is to mobilize our community to come out against this vicious, racist anti-Semite and not allow him to come forward,” Rabbi Mordechai Tokarsky, one of the lead organizers, explained at the event, which was conducted mostly in Russian.
Although Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries is a candidate for a majority African-American congressional district, he is spending plenty of time and campaign resources reaching out to the district’s diverse constituencies as well, with Election Day looming only a week away. This includes the Jewish vote. For example, Mr. Jeffries could be found at the Flatbush Park Jewish Center last night and on post-Shabbos Jewish radio last weekend, listeners were treated to a steady stream of ads from former Mayor Ed Koch.
“This is Ed Koch, remember me?” The former mayor said in the ad. “On June 26th voters in your community will be going to the polls to vote for a new member of Congress. I urge you to vote for Hakeem Jeffries. Terrific guy! He will be a great congressman.”
Among the thousands who turned out to march down Fifth Avenue in protest of the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy Sunday were several prominent political opponents of the practice, which saw police stop over 685,000 people, the vast majority of whom were people of color, while collecting 780 guns. Likely candidates in next year’s mayoral election have focused on reforming some elements of the controversial policy, but many of the leaders who participated in the march explained to The Politicker that they want stop and frisk ended entirely.
“I don’t know how you can keep it and take the quotas and the profiling out of it and, therefore, I think they need an entirely new program. I don’t know how you mend something based on quotas and race,” said Reverend Al Sharpton, one of the organizers of the march.
king of queens
Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and Councilman Charles Barron might be campaigning for a seat that is over 93% in Kings County and majority African-American, but that doesn’t mean that they’re going to be ignoring that tiny little little slice of the district in Queens with a history of racial tension.
Mr. Jeffries in particular is making a strong play or the neighborhood as he battles in a competitive primary against the controversial Mr. Barron. And, at the Cross Bay Diner in Howard Beach this afternoon, multiple elected officials representing that neighborhood announced their firm support for Mr. Jeffries.
Assemblywoman Grace Meng announced raising over $750,000 to date for her congressional campaign this morning, and it looks like her colleague in the Assembly, Hakeem Jeffries, has raised the same amount for his own congressional bid. In a statement from his campaign, Mr. Jeffries reported raising $250,000 since he last disclosed his tally in April, and twice again that number in the previous filings, placing him in a good position to do well in his June 26th Democratic primary.
“I am honored and humbled to have the support of hundreds of additional donors over these last two months,” Mr. Jeffries said. “Many have contributed $5 or less to support our campaign. We have talked to residents in every corner of the district to intimately understand the challenges facing neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens. With the strong support and commitment of so many people, we will be able to effectively communicate our progressive message throughout the balance of this campaign.”
At a town hall last night in Bed-Stuy, congressional candidates Hakeem Jeffries and Charles Barron gave their pitches and took questions, striking familiar themes: Mr. Jeffries portrayed himself as a serious legislator while Mr. Barron proclaimed his ability to help lead a national movement to change the country.
As the two competitors spoke at different times in different rooms, they never interacted or had the opportunity to have a fiery back-and-forth, as already happened on Inside City Hall. However, both candidates did take identical questions on foreign policy, “especially related around Africa and the Caribbean,” and their responses showed an interesting yet unsurprising divergence.
“This is a very diverse district and so there are going to be different parts of the district that have significant foreign policy interests,” Mr. Jeffries noted, adding that Africa was dear to the heart of many residents in places like Bed-Stuy, the Caribbean was important to Canarsie and Flatlands, and, unprompted, stressed the importance of Israel as well.
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.