Congressman Ed Towns is not seeking reelection, Politico reported in an email tonight, citing “a source familiar with his decision.” This news was subsequently confirmed by the New York Daily News‘ Alison Gendar, who reported that Mr. Towns is making calls to supporters saying he’s not seeking reelection.
Mr. Towns’ reported exit is both surprising and unsurprising. He had no reelection campaign to speak of, but had also recently hired Hank Sheinkopf to handle his communications and was ramping up his fundraising as recently as March.
His move would leave the overwhelmingly Democratic district’s primary field with only two main challengers, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and Councilman Charles Barron. Mr. Jeffries, who has been aggressively securing the endorsements of politically influential unions, clubs, and elected officials in the district, would appear to have the advantage.
Mr. Jeffries has also significantly outraised Mr. Barron and has more than ten times the cash on hand. However, Mr. Barron may benefit from his increased name recognition coming from his previous campaign for the seat, as well as his third party run for governor last year.
There is an added wrinkle in the possibility of Mr. Towns anointing a new candidate in his stead, via the committee to fill vacancies. If he were to file petitions to be on the ballot by tomorrow at midnight, that would be indicative of his intentions to do just that. However, nothing in the reports emerging so far has suggested he will seek a replacement candidate
The primary is June 26th.