Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has come out against fellow Democrat Charles Barron, a House candidate for the state's Eighth Congressional District. "Any candidate who is anti-Israel does not share Senator Gillibrand's values," says spokesman Glen Caplin in an email to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
Barron, a New York City councilman from Brooklyn, has a history of comments questioning the legitimacy of the state of Israel and saying New York Jews "[walk] these streets as if they own them."
Gillibrand's spokesman says the senator is supporting Barron's Democratic opponent, Hakeem Jeffries, in the June 26 primary.
Gillibrand's colleague, New York senator Chuck Schumer, has not commented publicly on the race, and his office has not responded to multiple requests for comment. Likewise, the Democratic National Committee has not responded to requests for comment.
But fellow congressional Democrats Jerrold Nadler and Steve Israel (the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) have denounced Barron and announced their support for Jeffries. And former New York City mayor Ed Koch, the National Jewish Democratic Council, and a number of other state and local Democratic officials have criticized Barron.
Retiring Democratic congressman Ed Towns, however, endorsed Barron. Towns currently represents the Tenth District, whose boundaries closely mirror the newly drawn Eighth. The district contains a sizable Jewish population.
An article from BuzzFeed reports that "senior Democrats" are "signalling" their support for Jeffries over Barron, with one anonymous Democrat calling Barron a "reckless clown."
"The New York delegation had long been the envy of other states. Loaded with national figures. But it's fallen into a period of decline," warned a senior Democrat closely watching the race, and eager to send a message to local officials. "This primary outcome might represent hope for the future or painfully make clear that the caucus has utterly lost it's [sic] way.
"Jeffries shouts star potential. Barron is a reckless clown who would sow division and embarrass the body. There's only one desirable outcome here."
A second senior Democrat, who is close to the White House, noted that the Administration had quietly sent its own message: Jeffries, a lawyer who has drawn union opposition for his support for charter schools, was invited to a fundraiser for President Obama at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City two weeks ago, to have his photograph taken with Obama and Clinton — a valuable piece of campaign literature in a heavily African-American district.
At Tablet, Michael Moynihan documents Barron's rise from a radical "curiosity" to a potential member of the House of Representatives:
Ten years ago, New York City councilman and former Black Panther Party activist Charles Barron was something of a curiosity. A Nehru-jacket-clad “pan-Africanist,” gleefully defending causes long abandoned as indefensible, Barron found a mainstream media niche: He was the professional extremist, saying gaspingly outrageous things to amused cable news hosts. In 2002, when Fox News’ Sean Hannity mistakenly introduced the councilman as “Congressman,” Barron quickly interjected that this would be his “next job,” running for the seat of Brooklyn Congressman Ed Towns “when he retires.” Four years later, MSNBC host Tucker Carlson made the same mistake, with Barron offering the same quip: “That’s my next job.”