Carrion touts his independence, Jewish connections

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Adolfo Carrion Jr., the former Bronx borough president and White House urban policy director, is now officially the mayoral candidate of the Independence Party, giving him a spot on the ballot in November.

Carrion, who until recently was a Democrat, is also looking to run on the Republican Party line.

The Independence Party's executive committee—46 people in total—met in Soho and voted to endorse Carrion. He showed up later with Jacqueline Salit, a long-time strategist and spokesperson for the party, who has been singing his praises for months.

Later, Carrion spoke to reporters and contended that his candidacy addressed a demand among city voters for an alternative to the major-party options, referring to the low turnout in the 2009 mayoral election as a "crisis."

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Standing next to Salit, who endorsed Bloomberg in all three of his mayoral races, Carrion said that Bloomberg's spending was only part of the explanation.

The "participation level was just above 10 percent" when he ran for City Council in the Bronx back in the 1990s, he said, "so this is not something new."

Referring to the impact of Bloomberg's record-setting campaign spending, he said, "Maybe there was some impact because people stayed home but it still points to the crisis," and "If people believe the results of an election are inevitable, we are in a political crisis."

"I was telling a group of Latinos recently, I said, what currency do you have in the electoral and political process if you're taken for granted by one party and you're ignored by another?" he said, in response to a question from Celeste Katz of the Daily News. "At the end of the day, you bring nothing and they offer nothing. So the question becomes, are you better off in that relationship."

He didn't respond to questions about policy specifics, saying he'd get into the details later.

Later, as Carrion walked out of the building and along Broadway, he was asked by Katz about anti-Semitic remarks made in the past by Independence Party leader Lenora Fulani, who retracted the statements and apologized back in 2007.

Carrion strongly objected to the idea that he was associating with anyone or anything anti-Semitic and said his advocacy for Israel practically makes him Jewish.

"I'm a Puerto Rican kid from New York City who's practically half Jewish by virtue of birth and my association here in this city, so give me a break," he said. "I would never be associated with anything that's anti-Semitic. I can see it a mile away. Every Jewish leader in this town and in this country knows that I am a friend of Israel. I have been there five times. I've fought for all their causes and I will continue to do that."