As the Central Labor Council holds its New York City congressional candidate endorsement interviews today (with its recommendations then passed on to the state AFL-CIO), Towns, who had been scheduled to interview, suddenly canceled at the last minute, according to a labor source present at the meeting. There was no explanation readily available for Towns’ failure to show, the source added.
One of his opponents, Councilman Charles Barron, is getting screened now, and his other opponent, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, is also scheduled to get screened. I’m also told that Rep. Charlie Rangel, even with all his health problems, is also slated to show up, as is pretty much every other NYC congressional contender of note.
The state’s umbrella labor organization backed Towns in 2010, so his failure to interview is a bit of a head-scratcher. Of course, Jeffries has been getting most of the labor support in the race so far, most notably that of the labor-backed Working Families Party, although the AFL-CIO represents a broader array of labor interests than the WFP.
UPDATE: Towns spokesman Julian Phillips wrote in with the following comment:
“The Congressman had to go to Washington for official business and will re-schedule.”
UPDATE X2: Daily Kos Elections notes that Congress isn’t actually in session today, so it’s unclear what official business Towns actually has.
UPDATE X3: A spokeswoman for the Central Labor Council, Ginger Otis, said Towns called to cancel last night, and that the CLC is fine with rescheduling a screening interview.
This follows Towns’ failure to show up for a public or private screening held by the Vanguard Independent Democratic Club — which had endorsed Towns for three decades, but this year threw its endorsement to Jeffries — and at the congressional race’s only candidate forum. Towns also abruptly canceled a Q&A session with reporters last week, and all of this has raised new questions about whether Towns is really serious about running for re-election. But his campaign insists it will ramp up once he gets on the ballot.
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