After dining in Williamsburg this afternoon with Harold Ford, Brooklyn Democratic County Leader Vito Lopez said the former congressman from Tennessee, who just took a leave from his job at Merrill Lynch, connects better with New Yorkers and is more charismatic that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
And Ford brings a certain level of “celebrity” to the Senate race, said Lopez.
“I think he’ll do a very good job of connecting with people, and it was very apparent inside, whether it was the waiter, the owner, and he has a very smooth personalty, very warm, and he can also be a regular guy,” said Lopez. “And those are qualities – whatever you want to say about Massachusetts – you have to be able to connect. you have to be able to somehow build a relationship with individuals.”
According to Lopez, Gillibrand has not gained widespread popularity even after begin in office for about a year.
Lopez said if you were to ask “the next ten people that walk down the street, ‘Who’s Kirsten Gillibrand?’ and two of those people do tell you that they do know, I would be somewhat surprised.”
“She’s relatively knew and I’m not sure if she’s connected,” Lopez said. “You know, he’s as new as she is. Somehow he resonates probably in my mind a little bit better than her.”
Lopez was surrounded by reporters outside of Cono’s and Sons, a restaurant on Graham Avenue where Lopez and Ford lunched today for about an hour.
Afterwards, the county leader said, “There’s a little bit of celebrity that he has. There is something about his candidacy that sort of transcends – some people have it or not.”
He added, “I was impressed by his style, and he has a certain degree of charisma. Those are qualities, aside from the substance and the issues that you need.” Later, Lopez joking told reporters said Ford “must be a celebrity because you’re all here” and that “this will sort of liven up the place.”