11:37 am Jun. 18, 20121
Senator Chuck Schumer wasn't ready to sound any alarms about Charles Barron at his Sunday press conference yesterday.
"I'll be speaking about that in the near future," Schumer said, cutting off a question about whether he was concerned the outspoken Barron could win an open congressional seat in Brooklyn.
Barron was initially considered something of an afterthought in the race, with most of the focus on the up-and-coming assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and the longtime incumbent, Ed Towns.
But after Towns dropped out and endorsed Barron, and several influential unions also threw their support to Barron, some top Democrats have begun to mobilize against the councilman, fearful of what it might mean for the party to have a new member of Congress who has previously said he felt like slapping the closest white person, once hosted Robert Mugabe at City Hall, and recently celebrated Moammar Khadafy as a hero.
Last week a group of officials rallied at City Hall to denounce Barron's criticisms of Israel, and President Obama recently posed for a handshake with Jeffries. Schumer's colleague in the Senate, Kirsten Gillibrand, told the Weekly Standard last week that she would be supporting Jeffries.
Schumer is one of the primary architects of the Democratic message—which would seem to suffer if the proudly off-message Barron was suddenly in Congress—but Schumer also has a policy of not wading into open-seat primaries, so anything he did on behalf of Jeffries would seem to be a further acknowledgment that Barron does, in fact, represent a special cause for concern among Democrats.
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