At a church up the street from the primary school where Hakeem Jeffries was due to make a last minute campaign stop, a volunteer handing out literature for Charles Barron explained why he favored the fiery City Councilman Barron over the establishment’s pick, Mr. Jeffries.
“Sometimes you need someone who can shake things up in City Hall, in Albany, and in Washington,” he said, making note of Mr. Barron’s penchant for over-the-top statements. “There has been a media onslaught. But sometimes when The Post comes after you, you know you are doing something good.”
The neighborhood is part of the gentrifying sections of the district that is supposed to be Mr. Jeffries’ strength, and a number of people headed into the polls here have known him for years as a member of the neighborhood or someone they see at church. And indeed, The Politicker found many supporters of his, but there were a number supporting Mr. Barron, and many who supported Mr. Jeffries with reservations.
“I have to say it was not an easy choice,” said Barbara Sherman, who said she voted for Mr. Jeffries. “I like Jeffries, but I don’t like a lot of the positions he has taken, especially on charter schools. Barron is very passionate, but I don’t think he would effective in Congress.”
Voters said that they did not think the race was breaking down along predictable racial lines, but rather among class lines, with more affluent voters going to Mr. Jeffries and less affluent voters going to Mr. Barron.
“I think Barron is more straightforward,” said Stephen Serrotta, who is white. “People say he is a racist, but I have spoken to him and he is not a racist.”
Mr. Barron arrived at a polling station in the district over an hour late, having been held up stumping for last minute votes in Coney Island.
“We feel good,” he told a clutch of reporters. “We are cautiously optimistic that we are going to be successful and that I am going to be on my way to Washington.”
Asked if voters impressions, that the race was coming down to passion versus compromise, was accurate, Mr. Jeffries said, “People also said that there was a surge from my opponent. We will see how accurate that is when polls close at nine o’clock.”
He was asked as well if he had anything to say to the residents of Ft. Greene. Mr. Jeffries skipped a debate that was supposed to be held in the neighborhood, and apparently some residents had grumbled about it.
“We are going to win Ft. Greene. We are going to win Ft. Greene. We are going to win Ft. Greene,” he said.