For many months, Lincoln Restler, the winner and loser of two incredibly-tight, back-to-back district leader campaigns, has been a chief antagonist of Brooklyn Councilman Steve Levin and was seriously exploring a highly-anticipated run against him. Today, however, Mr. Restler ultimately decided against the bid, freeing Mr. Levin of his most serious opponent this year.
“A number of people have asked me about my plans to run for office again and I wanted to share my thinking directly with you,” Mr. Restler wrote in an email to supporters this evening. “I have decided not to run for City Council this year. While I’ve had my share of disagreements with Councilmember Stephen Levin, I also respect that he has been a member of the Progressive Caucus, has brought participatory budgeting to our community, and has strived to actively represent our neighborhoods.”
Mr. Restler’s electoral plans, like his re-election bid to his district leader post, were complicated by redistricting. Over his firm protestations, Williamsburg’s Hasidic community was further consolidated in Mr. Levin’s district, giving the incumbent a firm base of support to ward off a potential challenge. Mr. Levin declined to immediately comment on the development.
In his email, which you can view below, Mr. Restler also endorsed Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for mayor.
I hope this note finds you well. The 2013 elections will be transformational for our City, as we elect a new Mayor, Comptroller, Public Advocate and Brooklyn Borough President, and at least half of the members of the New York City Council will be new to the chamber.
A number of people have asked me about my plans to run for office again and I wanted to share my thinking directly with you. I have decided not to run for City Council this year. While I’ve had my share of disagreements with Councilmember Stephen Levin, I also respect that he has been a member of the Progressive Caucus, has brought participatory budgeting to our community, and has strived to actively represent our neighborhoods.
In all sincerity, it has been my greatest privilege to represent the 50th Assembly District and to help make local government work better in our community. My experience as a Brooklyn activist and elected representative has been guided first and foremost by the desire to help my neighbors and give back to our neighborhoods. I don’t believe we need a political office to advocate for the issues that matter most to us. For my part, I will keep fighting for reform in the Brooklyn political system, responsible development that meets our needs, improved mass transit, and the creation of more green spaces. I am now leading the New York City Employment and Training Coalition, where I’m focused on ensuring New Yorkers are attaining quality training and employment.
While I do very much hope to have the opportunity to represent our community again in the near future, this election year presents a remarkable opportunity for us all to profoundly shape our City’s future. I am committing my energy to helping elect some true progressive reformers that will help us realize the Brooklyn and New York City we deserve. I hope you will join me in supporting City Council candidates Antonio Reynoso to succeed Diana Reyna in Williamsburg and Bushwick and Carlos Menchaca in the neighborhoods of Sunset Park, Red Hook, and South Park Slope. I am proud to be supporting Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for Mayor – as the time has come for a progressive Democrat to lead our City.
In the weeks ahead, I hope we can work together to improve our neighborhoods and to support leaders running for office who can help us build a brighter future for our City. Please never hesitate to contact me directly if I can ever be of assistance and I will keep you posted as the campaigns heat up.
Thank you for your extraordinary support,