Councilman Charles Barron lost his bid to become a congressman by a nearly three-to-one margin to Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries in Tuesday’s primary.
He was not too happy about it.
But when we reached him on Friday, Barron was looking toward the future and throwing a few jabs at the city’s political establishment.
City & State: How are you doing and how did the election go?
Charles Barron: We’re riding high. We were up against an alignment of unprecedented forces in the annals of New York State politics. I don’t think a candidate has ever faced a presidential photo-op during a Democratic primary. [Jeffries] even reduced the governor to a robocall in a Democratic primary.
I’m talking about the President, the Governor, two state senators, the city council speaker assigning staff people to his campaign, two borough presidents, two county leaders – these are powerful people. A lineup of assembly people, a line up of state senators.
All for me. It turned into a “Stop Barron” campaign. The New York Times endorsed him, the Daily News, the Wall Street Journal endorsed him. Crains. The Observer. The only way the New York Post helped me is by endorsing my opponent.
CS: Was all this about Jeffries or was this about you?
CB: It wasn’t focused on him. They could have done this with Donald Duck and won. Have you ever been involve din a campaign with that kind of alignment. Why? They called me a monster, a racist, a bigot, a malignant clown. I joined a press conference about the congressional redistricting to speak out against the new lines. It wasn’t in my interest to have Jeffries’s own assembly district in there. And he even sent out a mailer with Daily News saying I was a malignant clown
CS: Any positives from the campaign?
CB: In spite of all of that, with just $100,000 and 200 dedicated souls volunteering, we got 10,000 votes. We’re going to continue to build this movement. We’re going to run other candidates. We’re going to continue to build the Freedom Party and we’re going to continue to use running in democratic parties to get access to power.
CS: Why did you vote no on yesterday’s City Council budget?
CB: When I first came into Council in 2001 there were 83,000 summer employment jobs. Now there are a mere 31,000 slots. And over 140,000 youth will apply for these slots. We’re in for a long hot summer. There’s a $65-billion budget. And there’s that money from the Citytime settlement. You’re telling me you couldn’t squeeze out a few million to keep our youths off the streets?
CS: What’s next for you? Are you thinking about Albany and who your replacement will be?
CB: My future is bright and I’m going to make voice louder than ever and continue the movement for justice, liberation, economic emancipation and peace abroad. I haven’t been looking at [William Boyland Jr.’s seat]. Yes I would be very strong for that, but that’s something I am not looking at right now.
As for East New York, I want to maintain the city council seat, and get someone in our ranks to take my place.
CS: Is your wife, Assemblywoman Inez Barron, a candidate?
CB: My wife is one of them, absolutely. And then there’s the Assembly seat. We want to maintain that and try not to take anything off the table in East New York.
I’m certainly not going anywhere and I’m certainly not going to be silenced by anyone.
They’ll have fun with me in Albany. Me and Shelly. I’m sure wherever we go we’re going to make a powerful impact. We need a voice.
CS: Why was there so much negativity in your race, particularly from outside endorsements?
CB: What were they afraid of to have this kind of political alignment? What was it? I think it was the democratic political establishment was afraid of my independence. I ‘m unbossed, uncontrollable, and I’ll speak up for the 99 percent.
They’re afraid of leadership. There’s a certain kind of black leadership, a safe non-threatening black leader who will go along to get along and help them with their interests. And we won’t be able to see the racism in it because we’ll have black leaders to join them. I’m not Cory Booker, never will be. I’m not Clarence Thomas, never will be, Deval Patrick, Harold Ford, or Hakeem Jeffries. All of them are-non threatening and controllable, and they will go along to get along.
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