A Council candidate’s racist email, and a response

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First, City Council candidate Thomas Lopez-Pierre lashed out at rival Mark Levine for being a "White/Jewish candidate" who was "to sneak into office like a thief in the night" in order to win the race.

Now, Lopez-Pierre is attacking one of Levine's black supporters, Brian Benjamin, a prominent Democratic fund-raiser who helped raise money for Barack Obama.

Lopez-Pierre, Levine and more than half a dozen other candidates are running for the City Council seat in Upper Manhattan being vacated by the term-limited Robert Jackson.

Levine has the backing of most of the local Democratic establishment, and Lopez-Pierre is a longshot, to say the least.

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A reader passed along an email directed at Benjamin which was sent out widely by Lopez-Pierre yesterday afternoon which said, among other things, "What good does it do our community (by this I mean Black and Hispanic people) to have uncle Tom Nigger bitches like you graduate from Ivy League schools if all you do is suck the cock of guys like Mark Levine."

In an interview yesterday, Lopez-Pierre confirmed to me that he wrote the email and said, in case it wasn't obvious, "the purpose of that email was to disrespect [Benjamin], humiliate him."

He also conceded that his rhetoric was intended to attract attention, and defended the tone of his email, which is about as profane and racist throughout as it is in that one line, noting that House Speaker John Boehner twice cursed at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"That's politics on the national level. Imagine how politics is going to be in the 'hood," he said.

I also spoke with Benjamin, who is the founder of Young Professionals United for Change.

He declined to respond directly to the email but he did say, "There is something to be said about Upper Manhattan recognizing that race cannot be the most determinate factor in who you endorse for elected office. ... What about people's policies and views?" 

I've got the email here after what we used to call "the jump," if you want to read it. But probably you get the idea.