Council Speaker Christine Quinn set out to do two things yesterday evening: gather Latino voters for her mayoral bid and undermine scandal-scarred Vito Lopez’s own campaign for the City Council.
Ms. Quinn, the one-time mayoral front-runner, trudged up and down Williamsburg staircases with Mr. Lopez’s electoral rival Antonio Reynoso, the 30 year-old former council staffer the Democratic establishment hopes can block Mr. Lopez from a second act in politics.
As a yarmulke-wearing Bill Thompson showed on a muggy Monday night, the road to victory in the mayor’s race may be partially paved by men with frock coats and billowing beards.
The ex-comptroller met with some influential rabbis to earn their blessings and, more importantly, the votes they potentially carry. Nibbling on rugelach and sipping alcohol, Mr. Thompson schmoozed with five leaders from various religious sects spanning Williamsburg and Boro Park, where burgeoning Orthodox Jewish populations are looking to make a dent in next Tuesday’s election.
For much of the rest of the week, Hasidic rabbis will be praying during Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, making the night a unique opportunity for Mr. Thompson as the September 10 Democratic primary looms just one week away.
A power broker in the Hasidic Jewish community boasted today that his endorsement would deliver more than 10,000 votes to his chosen candidate, former comptroller Bill Thompson, who is now locked in a tight mayoral race with just two weeks to go until primary day.
“People trust the leadership in the community and people understand they have been here for years,” said Rabbi David Niederman, leader of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, at a press conference this afternoon touting his support. “This community, thank God, has not only survived but really progressed over here so people believe [the leadership] made the right decision.”
Two Brown University alumni named Stephen are facing off in a Brooklyn City Council race, but their similarities have not dulled the heat in one of the more contentious downballot contests in the city.
Councilman Steve Levin, facing a re-election challenge from Stephen Pierson, has endured a barrage of attacks from Mr. Pierson since the soft-spoken publisher launched his uphill campaign. The latest involves the Pierson camp claiming that Mr. Levin has been courting the support of a controversial real estate Super PAC.
Would it be ironic to vote for Bill de Blasio? Politicker isn’t quite sure but Mr. de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, is apparently hoping that’s the case.
The Brooklyn-based mayoral candidate tweeted out a photo of his younger, mullet-styled days earlier this afternoon with the tagline “Hipsters for de Blasio” to promote his latest fund-raiser: a meet-and-greet with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro at Rosco’s Pizza on Franklin Avenue.
Yesterday, vandals burned close to a dozen mezuzahs–religious artifacts affixed to doors–in front of Jewish homes in Williamsburg, drawing widespread outrage both in the local community and among candidates for higher office. This morning, several such pols were among the officials at a press conference blasting the perpetrators.
“Today all of us are Jewish and all of us celebrate this wonderful community,” Councilwoman Tish James, a candidate for public advocate, proclaimed. “But I’ve come here today to say that the individual or individuals that is responsible for this most heinous crime will be prosecuted … You will be caught and it is in your best interest to turn yourself in. In fact, I urge you to turn yourself in before anyone in this community gets their hand on you. It’s in your best interest.”
Only a couple hours after news broke that Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who is battling sexual harassment allegations, registered a campaign account for a City Council run, the Democratic club launched a “molester free zone” campaign, complete with a fairly direct flier, illustrating exactly how negative the marquee race will get should Mr. Lopez officially enter it.