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.
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.
This afternoon, President Barack Obama issued a statement to commemorate Congressman Gary Ackerman’s many terms in office. Mr. Ackerman, of course, gave a surprise announcement yesterday evening that he was not going to seek reelection for another term in Washington D.C.
“For over thirty years, Gary Ackerman has represented the people of Queens and Long Island, first as a New York State Senator, and then as a Member of Congress,” Mr. Obama said in his statement. “Gary’s bipartisan efforts helped our nation confront significant challenges at home and abroad.”
Less than two hours after Assemblyman Rory Lancman dropped his Congressional campaign to avoid challenging incumbent Representative Gary Ackerman in the Democratic primary, Mr. Ackerman himself pulled out of the race by releasing the following statement:
U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Queens/L.I.) today announced that he will not seek re-election to the United States Congress.
On the eve of the Federal Circuit Court’s approval of Congressional district lines that were seen to be extraordinarily favorable to Ackerman, and with the primary-free backing of the Democratic Party virtually assured, Ackerman has informed his family, staff, friends and party leaders that he will not seek a 16th term of office.
Over the weekend rumors emerged that Democratic Congressman Gary Ackerman would not seek reelection in 2012. In response to these rumors, Mr. Ackerman tweeted, “Republican rumor mill is 100%, Absolutely Wrong. I’m running.” In an interview with Capital New York, he emphatically and repeatedly rejected this speculation as well.
But that’s not enough to convince the National Republican Congressional Committee. The organization sent out a statement this afternoon directly stating Mr. Ackerman will end up retiring.
“The question is not if but when Gary Ackerman is going to retire,” Nathaniel Sillin, the group’s regional press secretary, wrote.