5:09 pm Jun. 25, 20121
When longtime incumbent congressman Ed Towns endorsed his old foe Charles Barron to succeed him, Towns pledged his entire organization to help make sure Barron won the June 26 primary. A week later, the congressman told Politico he'd be campaigning with his old rival.
But in the three weeks since that early June endorsement, no one seems to have spotted the two together on the campaign trail. Towns' own campaign committee made a $2,000 contribution to Barron, but only one other donor, Sadia Malik, appears to have given to both.
Neither Towns' local nor his Washington spokesmen returned requests for comment about how (or whether) the congressman has been helping the councilman.
The congressman's endorsement helped legitimize Barron, at least in the eyes of outside observers, and prompted a bump in national media attention for the councilman, though it's not entirely clear if that was a good thing for Barron.
Most of the national coverage has focused on Barron's many controversial statements, including his expressions of support international-pariah dictators and his comparisons of conditions in Gaza to those in Nazi death camps.
Local Jewish groups were indignant that Towns, a reliable supporter of Israel during his time in Congress, would endorse Barron.
As an adviser to Barron's opponent, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, put it to me: "The fact that our opponent's position on the state of Israel and broader foreign policy positions has generated attention in that community, I'd say that's been a net positive for our campaign."
Certainly, that seems to be the case as far as money is concerned, with national Jewish groups sounding the alarm and a flood of national money coming into Jeffries' campaign in the weeks since Towns endorsed.
All the attention has made Barron noticeably more reticent than he was at his brash campaign kick-off in November. He recently began criticizing reporters for amplifying his combative statements, where earlier he was usually happy for the attention.
But national is national, and local is local.
Barron clearly believes the Towns endorsement will mean something to voters in the district, even without Towns' presence: His campaign elected to use the Towns endorsement on one of its mailers.