Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, a rising star in the Democratic Party after winning his June 26th congressional primary, has notably straddled the line between the notoriously factious sides of Brooklyn’s Democratic Party. On one side, there is the county’s Democratic leader Vito Lopez, and on the other, self-styled reformers who strongly oppose his leadership. And earlier this afternoon, Mr. Jeffries offered his endorsement to one of the biggest thorns in Mr. Lopez’s side, District Leader Lincoln Restler, who’s locked in a tough battle for reelection in a district he won only by a handful of votes in 2010.
“Over the last two years, Lincoln has demonstrated remarkable drive, energy and creativity in helping to improve the quality of life of people throughout the Fort Greene and Clinton Hill communities,” he said in a statement. “We have worked closely together on behalf of public housing residents and he has demonstrated the significant impact a talented, progressive and engaged elected official can have in Brooklyn. I am proud to endorse him for re-election.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Mr. Jeffries is suddenly no longer with Mr. Lopez. He recently offered his endorsement to State Senator Martin Dilan, whose opponent is strongly backed not only by Mr. Restler, but also Lopez foe Rep. Nydia Velázquez.
Needless to say, Mr. Restler, about whom Mr. Lopez once said, “Tell me what he’s done. Nydia doesn’t represent much of that area, and he’s up her butt—and that’s fine,” was pleased.
In a statement provided to The Politicker, Mr. Restler said, “Hakeem Jeffries is the present and future of a new Brooklyn politics and I am honored to have his strong support in our effort to bring transparency, accountability, and integrity to our borough.”
Mr. Jeffries’ endorsement is the latest to come into this race as Mr. Restler faces off against local community board chair Chris Olechowski in the September 13th Democratic primary. Both have the backing of elected officials representing the area, with Mr. Olechowski being supported by Councilman Steve Levin, Mr. Lopez, Mr. Dilan and more, while Mr. Restler recently rolled out a small army of politicians supporting his campaign on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall.
All for an unpaid seat in the county’s Democratic organization.