Establishment-backed candidate for Robert Jackson’s Council seat emphasizes diversity

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Here's City Council candidate Mark Levine, formally kicking off his campaign by emphasizing his desire for a racially diverse coalition.

Levine was attacked in a series of emails from a fringe rival, who referred to him as a "White/Jewish candidate" trying to take the Harlem and Upper West Side seat "like a thief in the night."

Levine is running with the support of the Democratic establishment.

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Officials present at his event on Sunday included Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, Councilman Dan Garodnick and Assemblyman Herman (Denny) Farrell.

The "inclusive spirit of leaders like this is under attack right now," Levine said. "Many of you know what I'm talking about ... Yhe people of this district reject hate speech [in] any form."

Levine went on to say, "We are not going to ban hydrofracking statewide if it's only the cause of whites. We are not going to bring desperately needed reform to stop-and-frisk if it's only the cause of African-Americans."

Levine is running for the seat being vacated by Councilman Robert Jackson, who is term-limited after next year and is running for Manhattan borough president.

The district includes parts of Harlem which are overwhelmingly African-American and sections of Washington Heights and Inwood, which are predominately Hispanic. The district also includes a gentrified enclave near the Cloisters.