Volume 16 • Issue 37 | February 13 - 19, 2004

Kerry wins Downtown pols’ late endorsements

By Josh Rogers

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, right, joined other John Kerry supporters at a City Hall rally Thursday.

The remaining Downtown elected officials who had not yet endorsed in the Democratic presidential primary came to City Hall Thursday to endorse Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, joining many state, city and labor leaders.

“It’s time for us to stop spending money Democrat against Democrat,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose district covers much of Lower Manhattan. “We need to start spending the money to beat Republicans.”

Silver endorsed Kerry after Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Silver’s first pick, dropped out of race a few weeks ago. Silver said Kerry had proven his mettle all over the country, winning 12 of the first 14 primaries or caucuses. He said the other active candidates had every right to stay in the race, but that New Yorkers should view them the same as the candidates who have dropped out of the race but who remain on the March 2 ballot.

Other Downtowners who joined Silver included U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, one of Kerry’s earliest New York supporters, as well as more recent backers — Assemblymembers Deborah Glick and Steven Sanders, State Sen. Martin Connor and Councilmembers Alan Gerson and Margarita Lopez.

Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, won most of the early support from Downtown elected officials, most notably from U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, State Sen. Tom Duane and Councilmember Chris Quinn.

State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, City Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, and representatives of firefighters’ unions, the United Federation of Teachers and the Retail Wholesale Department Store Union also came out for Kerry.

Maloney said Kerry had fought for things which helped New York throughout his career in the senate. She pointed to his fight for a fair Census count and added “he’s been a staunch, staunch supporter of women, children and families.”

After the conference she said that she thought Kerry would bring in a great White House staff and give opportunities to all types of people, particularly women.

“He’s the only candidate running whose campaign manager and campaign chairperson is a woman,” Maloney said. “That speaks volumes.”

Hevesi criticized President Bush’s handling of the lead up to the war with Iraq. After a slip of the tongue, Hevesi’s predecessor in the comptroller’s post, Carl McCall jumped in with what sounded like a dig at the president’s National Guard record.

“He lied to us,” Hevesi said, “about the rationale for getting into the Vietnam War. ‘Vietnam War?’ Holy mackerel – what am I saying? “

“He’s lied about that one too,” McCall chimed in.



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