Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries defeated Councilman Charles Barron in the Democratic primary for the 8th Congressional District last night, setting the stage for a general election battle against Republican businessman Alan Bellone and third party candidates in November.
Jeffries supporters outnumbered Barron supporters at the polls by a wide margin, with the victor racking up 25,712 (71.9 percent) votes to Barron’s 10,063 (28.1 percent), according to the New York Times. It was one of the most well-attended elections in New York State last night, with more than 35,000 voters turning out - putting it neck-and-neck with the much more widely promoted primary for Charles Rangel’s seat.
Meanwhile, Congressman Bob Turner, who currently represents Sheepshead Bay, may be out of a job come January. His district is being eliminated, and last night he lost his bid for the Republican nomination to take on Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Turner received 35.6 percent of the vote, losing out to Manhattan lawyer Wendy Long, who took 50.9 percent.
In the 9th Congressional District, Democratic incumbent Yvette Clarke won the party’s nomination to proceed to November’s election, handily defeating upstart Sylvia Kinard, who took in only 11.7 percent of the vote. Clarke will now face off against Republican candidate Daniel Cavanagh.
We noted recently that new Congressional district lines means we’ll be seeing a lot of new faces in our neck of the woods. With the 13th District, currently occupied by Republican Michael Grimm, morphing into the 11th District, it bulks out further into Brooklyn to include parts of Sheepshead Bay and Gravesend.
Enter one of the new faces you’ll see more often as the election nears: Democrat Mark Murphy, who is challenging Grimm.
Murphy came before the Southern Brooklyn Democrats at their Monday night meeting this week, seeking support from the progressive group for his campaign. Murphy did a short Q&A, telling attendees that he hopes to “protect the next generation” and “those who do not have a voice,” as well as Medicare and Medicaid for the generation that came before. He slammed his opponent, Michael Grimm, for having slashed Medicare and Medicaid while offering tax cuts to overseas companies and oil companies.
Murphy also criticized Grimm for his failure to fight for jobs in New York City when federal guidelines force the city to turn to out-of-state contractors for public projects.
What caught our ear was a response Murphy gave to a question about the natural gas pipeline that may soon be installed beneath Jamaica Bay, Gateway National Recreation Area and Floyd Bennett Field. The bill permitting construction of such a pipeline was sponsored by Grimm. Murphy said he supported the expansion of natural gas service, but that if it’s to benefit a private company, the funding for it should come from private sources. However, a number of details in his answer revealed he was not familiar with some of the elements of the plan – such as the fact that no pipeline already exists within the park – or the safety and environmental concerns from neighbors.
Sheepshead Bites followed up with Murphy to ask him to clarify his stance, based on details we provided from our earlier coverage. Here is his updated statement:
We face a constant challenge in balancing our energy needs against protecting our natural resources, and this project is no exception. While this project, linking Brooklyn and Staten Island to an existing offshore pipeline, has the potential to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and polluting high-sulfur heating oil it still brings clear risk to the environment. Therefore, I believe that any gas pipeline must first and foremost be built and managed under strict oversight and adhering the most rigorous environmental standards, and that any company with a poor safety record or past safety law violations should be banned from involvement in this project. No taxpayer funds should be used in its construction, and impingement on the seafloor must be minimized. While we still need a longer-term energy policy that reduces our dependence on fossil fuels in general, in the immediate future our responsibility is to ensure that we continue to phase out more polluting energy sources like high-sulfur home heating oil and decrease New York’s overall carbon footprint.
Southern Brooklyn Democrats voted to endorse Murphy at the end of the meeting.
Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, running to replace Congressman Ed Towns as the representative for the newly redrawn 8th Congressional District, visited the Manhattan Beach Community Group last week to introduce himself and discuss his stance on the issues expected to play a key role in this year’s election.
Jeffries talked about Israel, the economy and restoring trust in government, while also touting his background in both the public and private sectors. He also worked in mention of a handful of local issues, including waterfront issues, transportation and safety.
“One of the things that I’ve found all across this congressional district is that there are a lot of things that unite folks,” Jeffries told the crowd about the newly redrawn district, which will span across neighborhoods from Downtown Brooklyn to Crown Heights, to East New York to Mill Basin, to Manhattan Beach and Brighton Beach. “It’s a wonderfully diverse district, but … people want good schools, people want safe streets, people want a strong economy for all. Those are the issues that I really hope to work on if I had the privilege of representing you down in Washington.”
The race kicked off after current Congressman Ed Towns announced that he will not seek reelection this year. Vying for the Democratic ticket are City Councilman Charles Barron, a controversial figure with a strong following in his East New York, Brownsville, East Flatbush, and Canarsie base, and Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who has won the endorsement of many of our local elected, who represents Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Crown Heights in the Assembly. The primary is set for June 26.
Colin Beavan, Green Party candidate (Source: ColinBeavan.com)
If you live in our coverage area, chances are you didn’t have reason to know much about Congressman Edolphus Towns until recently. After all, for the last 29 years the Democrat has represented Bed-Stuy, Canarsie and Brownsville – neighborhoods that have little in common with our own.
But, thanks to this year’s Congressional redistricting, Towns’ district sprouts southwest, pulling the communities of Marine Park, Plumb Beach, Manhattan Beach and Brighton Beach into a 71 percent black and Hispanic district.
Now Towns is stepping down, and the race to replace him is heating up. Vying for the Democratic ticket are City Councilman Charles Barron, a controversial figure citywide with a strong following in his East New York, Brownsville, East Flatbush, and Canarsie base, and Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who has won the endorsement of many of our local elected.
But no Congressional race would be complete without a couple of long-shot candidates. Enter Alan Bellone and Colin Beavan.