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Congressman Towns Largely Absent From The Democratic Primary Campaign

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One of the mostly closely watched local races this election season will be for the congressional seat currently held by Ed Towns, but so far Towns’ Democratic primary campaign so far has been virtually nonexistent. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

Brooklyn Representative Ed Towns told NY1 in January he was not concerned about his re-election. In his nearly 30 years in Congress, he’s successfully fought off challengers 12 times.

Facing an especially tough fight this year, the Towns campaign has yet to get off the ground, while rival Hakeem Jeffries has taken off, racking up an impressive list of endorsements from unions and Democratic clubs, including the Vanguard Independent Democratic club, the first time in decades it did not support Towns.

“He has been re-elected approximately 14 times throughout the duration of his 30-year tenure, and that is not to be dismissed," said Jeffries. "What is clear is that this is a different race, I’m a different candidate, we are bringing a different level of support to this campaign.”

Towns declined to be interviewed for this story; a campaign spokesman said the lack of endorsements is a concern, but pointed out Towns’ district itself was an unknown until just a few weeks ago, when it was redrawn to include neighborhoods like Coney Island and Howard Beach.

The spokesman said the campaign will get in full swing after petition signatures are submitted next week, saying, “The congressman is prepared to do what he has to do to win this election.”

Don’t count out another challenger: City Councilman Charles Barron, who lost to Towns by just 8 points in 2006. Barron said he is better-known and better organized this time, but believes Towns will make a late push.

“We expect Towns not to go to sleep. He’s going to be out there heavy and strong probably in the last four to five weeks,” said Barron.

The primary election takes place June 26, but that may not be the final word. Because Jeffries has the support of the Working Families Party, he could lose the Democratic primary but then choose to run again in November in the general election on the Working Families line.

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