Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries officially received the endorsement of the politically influential Working Families Party tonight in his primary campaign against the incumbent Congressman Ed Towns. Although it was expected Mr. Jeffries would receive the nod, the WFP doesn’t often back primary challenges against sitting Democratic Representatives and the endorsement is notable.
“Now more than ever, we need progressive champions like Hakeem Jeffries who will stand up for working class, middle class and poor people,” Dan Cantor, the executive director of the party, announced in a statement.
While many New York City political observers were focused on a never-ending Brooklyn special election for the New York State Senate, the Working Families Party, which did not endorse in that election, was focused on a Hudson Valley Assembly seat containing Poughkeepsie and Newburgh where they had invested in Democratic former Assemblyman Frank Skartados and saw him go on to decisively won with over 60% of the vote.
“Congratulations to Frank Skartados for his victory tonight. It’s always rewarding to have candidates you can really get excited about. Frank will be a voice in Albany who will stand up for ordinary working families,” the Working Families Party’s executive director, Dan Cantor, said in a statement late last night.
The Working Families Party announced this afternoon that they have settled a civil lawsuit waged by attorney Randy Mastro on behalf of a handful of City Council candidates who believe that the WFP’s field operation put them at an unfair disadvantage.
Under the terms of the agreement, Data and Field Services, the for-profit arm of the WFP, will be re-absorbed into the party proper and will cease to function as an independent for-profit entity.
In a statement, the WFP remained defiant over the question of wrong-doing.
On a recent Thursday afternoon, Councilman Jumaane Williams was sitting half a foot away from the small round table in his office, lamenting that he can’t do as much as he’d like with the job he currently has.
“A lot of us are trying to do the best we can the way the rules are set up,” said Mr. Williams. As he spoke, his body jerked, tossing his arms a few inches in either direction, and bouncing his long tightly-wound dreadlocks. “The rules are problematic, so, let’s go and change the whole structure. The structure is bad.”
very special elections
On a recent Wednesday afternoon, Jesus Gonzalez finished a Newport outside his Bushwick office, then ducked to the back with a comb and some gel. He emerged with his close-cropped hair slicked down, and picked up a stack of campaign literature before setting out to knock on some doors.
“It is one of the oldest community organizing tactics,” said Mr. Gonzalez, in an untucked beige polo shirt, an oversized blazer, baggy jeans and shiny patent leather kicks. “Even Jesus’ disciples did it to spread the word.”
Mr. Gonzalez, who goes by the English pronunciation of his first name, Jesus – though some supporters have quietly tried to push the Spanish pronunciation for the campaign – will need some new converts to win the upcoming special election in New York’s 54th Assembly District.
The labor-backed Working Families Party is endorsing Democrat David Weprin for the NY-9 congressional seat vacated by Anthony Weiner, according to a source.
Weprin, an Assemblyman from Queens, already has the backing the Democratic Parties in Queens and Brooklyn, along with the Independence Party. Last time around, the WFP helped the Democratic candidate add 3,332 votes.
An official announcement is expected soon, I’m told.
Update: Statements after the jump.
In another sign President Obama isn’t making friends on the left, or right, with his fiscal policies, out comes a harsh email from the labor-backed Working Families Party saying Obama shouldn’t respond to Republicans with “timidity.”
The outrage is over Obama signaling he may accept the GOP’s push for cuts to Social Security and Medicare to close the federal budget fight.
very special elections
Today is the day of non-news for September’s special elections.
First, in a long-anticipated move, the Queens Democratic Party gave their party to Schumer aide Phil Goldfeder in the 23rd AD and to Michael Simanowitz in the 27th.
Now comes word that the Working Families Party has given their line to Jesus Gonzalez in the 54th Assembly district to replace Darryl Towns.