The New York Observer urged President Barack Obama on Wednesday to put his political muscle behind Prospect Heights Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries in what is shaping up to be a tighter-than-expected contest with Councilman Charles Barron for the 8th Congressional District.
"A presidential endorsement of Mr. Jeffries certainly would be a blow for the haters, racial arsonists, and refugees from the 1960s who support Mr. Barron’s candidacy," The Observer wrote.
The newspaper joins a small, but vocal chorus of voices blasting Barron for his past embrace of identity politics and support for controversial foreign leaders and positions.
Earlier this month, former Mayor Ed Koch, Councilman David Greenfield, D-Flatbush, and Assemblyman Dov Hikind, D-Borough Park, among others, held a press conference in Manhattan denouncing the East New York councilman for statements they judged to be insufficiently supportive of Israel—a key U.S. ally in the Middle East.
This week, The Jewish Defense Organization ratcheted up the rhetoric to a new level, calling Barron a "black Nazi" in literature sent to Russian Jews living in a small portion of the 8th Congressional District that stretches into South Queens.
According to City and State editor Andrew Hawkins, Jeffries responded forcefully to word of JDO's attacks on Barron, saying, "Hate and extreme rhetoric have no place in our society."
If the are any indication, it seems likely that the Prospect Heights Democrat would welcome any endorsement from the White House—especially as the clock ticks down to the June 26 primary.
Requests for comment from the Barron and Jeffries campaigns were not immediately returned. (Update, June 20, 2:59 p.m.: The Jeffries campagin declined to comment on the editorial.)