Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries opened his congressional campaign headquarters earlier this afternoon, and despite the oddly silent campaign of the incumbent that he’s seeking to unseat, Rep. Ed Towns, he said he still expects a vigorous campaign.
“A 30-year incumbent has a considerable amount of name recognition that we have to take seriously,” Mr. Jeffries told The Politicker after the event. “It’s not surprising that incumbents deploy what has often been referred to as a ‘Rose Garden strategy,’ where they govern and not campaign. Perhaps that’s what this incumbent is engaging in at the moment.”
“He’s been successful in the last fourteen reelection campaigns and we’ve got to take him seriously,” he added.
Mr. Jeffries then suggested that perhaps Mr. Towns is simply working under the calendar from previous elections, when the primary date was in September instead of June.
“I think part of the issue may be that everyone has to adjust to the new electoral schedule that we’re faced with at this moment,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean that things can’t change and that the congressman may not put his foot on the gas pedal and accelerate over the next couple of months.”
Although Mr. Towns’ campaign spokesman, Hank Sheinkopf, won’t currently tell reporters if the incumbent is even seeking reelection, he has been attacking Mr. Jeffries as of late. For example, he told Capital New York’s Reid Pillifant that Mr. Jeffries is the “already anointed candidate of Manhattan’s one percent,” a characterization Mr. Jeffries fired back over when Mr. Pillifant asked him about it today.
“It’s a surprising comment coming from the candidate of the Washington special interests, who has never met a special interest dollar that he doesn’t like.”
Watch Mr. Jeffries open his campaign headquarters below: