By Eric Goldschein
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
In a coup for the Congressional campaign of Council Member Charles Barron, current 10th District Rep. Ed Towns delivered a ringing endorsement of Barron's bid to succeed him, after his 15th and final term ends this fall.
In the lead-up to the Democratic primary, which takes place on June 26, Barron has been fighting an uphill battle against Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries. But on a day when Jeffries was in Albany, Barron welcomed the support of the incumbent and sometimes-rival congressman who he hopes to replace.
The official announcement took place at Barron's campaign headquarters at 426 New Lots Ave. on Monday afternoon. In front of a room full of cheering supporters, the two politicians clasped hands as Towns threw his support behind the "independent" Barron.
"I'm here today to join with Councilman Barron. I am here, our organization is here, everything I have is here on your behalf," said Towns.
"I want to leave the district that I had for 30 years in good hands. There are problems in the community, there are budget cuts. We need somebody to stand up and say — no more. Charles Barron, no doubt about it, has the ability to do that," said Towns.
Barron said he was honored to take the congressman's endorsement, and looked forward to working with him going forward.
"What better person can we have than someone who has been around for 30 years?" Barron said after shaking the incumbent's hand. "He can help me navigate the waters of Washington."
Things weren't always so rosy between the two. Barron ran against Towns for his seat in 2006 and lost by eight points, and the two have clashed over a number of divisise issues, including the Atlantic Yards project. While Towns supported the plan, Barron derided it as “environmentally disastrous” and “instant gentrification.”
Jeffries' campaign said the Towns endorsement of Barron was "no surprise," and a statement from Jeffries' spokesperson, Lupé Todd, called it "shotgun marriage with a sworn political enemy."
Jeffries, considered to be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination and thus the Congressional seat, went to Albany on Monday after Gov. Andrew Cuomo voiced support for his proposal to downgrade possession of small amounts of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a violation.
Towns' endorsement was seen as a rebuttal to Assemblyman Vito Lopez, head of the Kings County Democratic Party, with whom Towns has been feuding. Lopez supported Jeffries, and he opposed the state Assembly campaign of Towns' daughter last year.
Barron is chalking the endorsement up as a big victory for his campaign, which also just received the endorsement of DC37, the city’s largest public employee union.
Barron ended the press conference with words he hopes will prove prophetic.
"This is a great boost. The momentum is swinging our way," Barron said, and the song "Charles Barron for Congress" began blaring through the radio as Towns and Barron walked out onto New Lots Avenue together.