City Comptroller candidate David Yassky is finding that his failed race for Congress is beginning to erode political support in his home borough.
Yassky, who currently represents the 33rd District in the City Council, is the only Brooklynite in the race, against John Liu, Melinda Katz and David Weprin -- all of whom represent Queens in the City Council.
Political observers say that Yassky must win big in Brooklyn and hope for a split among the three Queens candidates to win the comptroller office.
But Rep. Yvette Clarke, who remains popular in Flatbush’s Caribbean-American neighborhoods, became the latest elected official in Central Brooklyn to back someone other than Yassky.
“I am supporting Melinda Katz for New York City Comptroller because she has always been a strong voice for her community, for working families, and especially for women,” said Clarke, who defeated Yassky for the 11th Congressional District seat in 2006 after former Rep. Major Owens retired.
Despite Clarke’s plug for Katz, a large contingent of African- and Carbbean-American elected officials in the borough have endorsed Liu -- apparently fueled by leftover bad blood when Yassky moved a few blocks to run as the only white candidate for Congress.
The 11th Congressional District was created by the Voting Rights Act and the seat was first held by Shirley Chisholm.
In endorsing Liu, Owens told reporters there is still some hard feelings about Yassky choosing to run for Congress in the 11th District. His son, Chris, was one of the candidates.
Rep. Edolphus Towns, who represents the adjoining 10th Congressional District, also told reporters there is lingering grassroots resentment toward Yassky’s run for Congress.
When reached by this newspaper, Towns had no comment about Yassky’s run for Congress, but continued to give a ringing endorsement for Liu.
“John Liu is a gifted coalition builder with a keen ability to bring people together to get things accomplished,” said Towns.
Others endorsing Liu include State Senators Velmanette Montgomery and Kevin Parker; Assemblymembers Inez Barron, William F. Boyland Jr., Karim Camara, Hakeem Jeffries, Nick Perry, Annette Robinson and Darryl Towns; and City Council members Charles Barron, Letitia James and Al Vann.
Yassky spokesperson Danny Kanner responded that, “David ran for Congress in Central Brooklyn because, at the time, George W. Bush was failing our communities on issues David has worked tirelessly on his entire career -- from education to health care to getting guns off our streets.”
Kanner said while voters ultimately chose someone else to represent them, they did get to know Yassky as a leader of integrity and vision.
Kanner also emailed a long list of African- and Caribbean-American clergy leaders who are supporting him for comptroller as well as State Senators Eric Adams and John Sampson.
“While we are seeking the support of every voter in Central Brooklyn, we understand you can’t win in a shutout and will continue to make the case that David is the candidate best prepared to eliminate wasteful spending, demand accountability and results, and get the city’s economy back on track for all New Yorkers,” he said.
Clarke refused comment on her feelings toward Yassky’s entrance in the Congressional race, but sources close to her suggested Yassky’s decision to run in 2006 is coming back to haunt him.
“There’s still a tremendous amount of shrapnel left behind with David Yassky’s failed attempt to run for Congress and that he’s paying some of the price with his run this year,” said the source.
©2009 Community News Group
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