From Kevin Powell: Good day everyone. If you are like me, you’ve been deeply inspired by the message and the movement that is Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. I was at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston when Senator Barack Obama gave his now historic keynote address. His inspiring message is, for sure, one of the reasons why I am running for a seat in the United States Congress here in Brooklyn, New York in 2008. We need a new kind of leadership in America, at every level of government. And I take that challenge and that responsibility very seriously.
My opponent, 26-year incumbent Congressman Ed Towns, represents the old brand of leadership, the old way of thinking. He is a superdelegate who refuses to change his vote, which he pledged to Senator Hillary Clinton months ago. Barack Obama won the majority of Super Tuesday primary votes in our Congressional district, so clearly the people of Brooklyn, including the multicultural waves of younger people who are engaging in politics for the first time, want something different, something fresh, bold, and exciting. But unlike, say, Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, who came to understand he had to follow the will of the people and change his superdelegate vote to Mr. Obama, Congressman Towns refuses to budge.
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2008 Democratic Candidate for the United States House of Representatives
10th Congressional District, Brooklyn, New York
Superdelegate Fight Seeps Into a Brooklyn Race
There is no question that the political climate of the Democratic nomination for president is seeping into contests within New York City. The latest example is in a Congressional race in Brooklyn, where Kevin Powell is seeking to unseat Representative Edolphus Towns, a longtime incumbent. Mr. Towns, a superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention, is under fire from Mr. Powell for his insistence on supporting Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, even though Senator Barack Obama received a majority of the vote in the primary in Mr. Towns’s congressional district.
Mr. Towns has been a longtime supporter of Senator Clinton’s bid for the presidency. But Mr. Powell said that the congressman’s role as a superdelegate should lead him to pay more attention to the wishes of voters in the 10th Congressional District than to his personal loyalties. “Many of us feel that all the superdelegates need to re-examine who they are going to support ultimately,” Mr. Powell said in an interview Wednesday. “If the people supported Barack Obama in a particular area or Congressional district, the superdelegates should, too. He should be supporting Obama now.” In the 10th Congressional District, which includes a number of neighborhoods in central Brooklyn, Mr. Obama received about 57 percent of the vote, compared with 42 percent for Mrs. Clinton, in unofficial returns provided by the New York City Board of Elections.
Mr. Towns has explained that he has no intention of straying from his support of Mrs. Clinton. “The district might have gone for Obama,” Mr. Towns said. “But the state went for Hillary. And no matter what, she is the senator from our state.” He acknowledged that he has at times been asked by residents of the district why he has decided to stick with Mrs. Clinton. “I just tell people that she has been good for this district — she has helped to bring a tremendous amount of resources here, and I think people respect that,” Mr. Towns said. “People understand that she is the senator from New York and that every Democratic member of the delegation is supporting her.”