Towns goes positive against Hakeem Jeffries

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Representative Ed Towns. (Reid Pillifant)
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Longtime Brooklyn congressman Ed Towns emailed a statement this afternoon with the subject line "Towns Refuses to Go Negative," responding to criticism made by Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries in a City & State story this morning, and claiming that he has quietly delivered for the district.

“I have never been the conventional politician,” Towns said in the statement. “While I have no problem engaging the media, I will not engage in a sensational mudslinging battle. I have never been one to constantly boast about my accomplishments. When I complete one project, I move on to the next challenge and, believe me we have many challenges in Brooklyn.”

Towns had previously gone after Jeffries' spokeswoman, Lupe Todd, for criticizing the amount of special-interest money he's taken in. But the congressman appears to have had a change of heart.

The email doesn't mention Jeffries by name, saying only at one point that Towns' "youngest opponent ... has much to learn before he is ready for the responsibilities of national office."

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(Towns' other opponent is Councilman Charles Barron.)

Towns responded to Jeffries' charge that he should have done more to prevent the foreclosure crisis.

“Why would I waste taxpayers’ dollars to hold a hearing on charges that were already resolved?” Towns said. “To suggest that I personally could have prevented the foreclosure crisis is ludicrous.”

Towns also rejected the idea that he had performed poorly as chairman of the House Committee on Government and Oversight Reform. (He was not supported as ranking member by either Nancy Pelosi or the White House after Republicans took control of the House.) 

“Obviously, my opponent was not paying attention to my work on OGR, but if he were to go back and review my record, he would learn that I took on some of the country’s top CEO’s and many of them resigned after coming before my committee," Towns said. "But I won’t take credit for that.” 

The statement ended by saying Towns offered that last quote "with a smile."

The initial email mentioned that Jeffries had supported Towns when he was facing a primary challenge in 2010; a corrected version of the email sent out a few minutes later noted that Jeffries had supported him in 2008 too.