The Kevin Powell–Ed Towns race took a detour into a courtroom at Kings County Supreme Court today after Congressman Ed Towns sued to keep his primary challenger off of the September ballot.
“It’s a lot of fraud,” Towns said. “I tell you I’ve been in this business now 40 years. These are the worst petitions I’ve ever seen in my 40 years of being involved in electoral politics. It’s ridiculous. And I generally don’t challenge people. This is a fraud on the people of the district to allow him to just get on the ballot with this stuff.”
The Powell campaign collected more than 8,000 signatures, far more than the 1,250 necessary to get on the ballot. Powell took to the Huffington Post today–a frequent venue for him–to decry Towns’ challenge. “These kinds of scare and bully tactics might have worked in the old Brooklyn, but they are not going to work in the new Brooklyn,” Powell wrote. “For there is a new generation of residents, engaged citizens, and, yes, leaders, who do not subscribe to clubhouse or machine-style politics.”
Powell called in from a break in the court proceedings to say, “I have a big smile on my face. This is just a stall tactic…We have incredible people working on our petitions the entire time. We cleaned and vetted them the entire time. We have way more than enough. We know what we are doing. Everybody on our campaign is a community organizer.”
Powell got only 32 percent of the vote in 2008, but said that this year, with Charlie Rangel’s well-known problems and anti-incumbent sentiment dominating the electorate, “This is the strongest challenge that Congressman Towns has ever had.”
Towns dismissed the idea that he was challenging Powell’s petitions because he was nervous about the primary.
“I just think that we are doing what’s right,” he said. “If it says you are supposed to have x amount of good signatures, then I think you should have that. Because if you notice in the past, I have not really challenged. And of course he ran the last time. And if I remember he got beat more than 2-1. So that’s not the issue. The issue is what’s right. So I’m not nervous.”