With Ms. Velazquez at her side in a roomful of approximately 200 seniors, Mr. Silver said that she has been in “a very bitter, deceitful campaign,” and added that “the reality is…for 20 years she has been a real performer in Congress,” citing Ms. Velazquez’s commitment to affordable housing and small business.
Ms. Velazquez’s main challenger this primary season is Erik Dilan, a City Councilman and a protege of Vito Lopez, the head of the Kings County Democratic Party and a colleague of Mr. Silver’s in the Assembly. Two other lesser-known candidates are also in the race. Asked to clarify what he meant, Mr. Silver told The Politicker, “I think there is some anonymous literature that is not identified in any way that takes some quotes or things and just throws them totally out of context.”
Asked to assign blame for the anonymous literature, Mr. Silver demurred.
“I don’t place blame on anybody, but obviously I think it is coordinated by some candidate who didn’t put her name on it.”
(It is worth noting that all three of Ms. Velazquez’s opponents are male.)
Anonymous negative mailers will often appear on doorsteps during campaign season. As far as I know, nothing has been reported in the press about this race, although there was a rather vile video of Ms. Velazquez distributed by a pro-small business PAC.
Asked is she agreed with the speaker’s assessment of the race, the congressman responded, “Definitely.”
“When people have no arguments, no valid arguments, they will resort to dirty politics.”
She too declined to get specific.
“I am not going to repeat everything that has been said, but you know what? The voters of my district are quite sophisticated and they know how to read.”
Ms. Velazquez is facing her first major primary challenge in 20 years in Congress, a fact that she said was due to Mr. Dilan’s ambition. She noted too that he voted to overturn the city’s term limit law while in the City Council.
“Whenever there is redistricting and new parts are added to the district, those members who sit on the City Council and who voted to overturn term limits, like my opponent, will be looking for an opportunity. They feel if there is an opportunity for them to get promoted, it is this time, because once you get re-elected it is very difficult for them.”
Ms. Velazquez also got her digs in at Mr. Lopez, with whom she has had a several decades long feud, one that culminated in the unusual case this campaign season of a Democratic county leader going against an incumbent in his home county.
“I don’t pick a fight or anything like that with any party boss. All we want to do is make sure that we have a Democratic Party in Brooklyn–one of the largest counties in the country–to play a more meaningful role when it comes to national politics and not to entrench into petty politics at the local level.”