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The close five-way race to succeed Councilman Bill DeBlasio got a jolt on Sunday as Rep. Anthony Weiner — himself a former member of the City Council — endorsed Bob Zuckerman, the former head of the Gowanus Canal Local Development Corporation and the race’s only gay candidate.
The endorsement came at Dizzy’s, an Eighth Avenue diner noted for its corned beef hash.
“Bob isn’t going to the Council to be a business-as-usual politician,” said Weiner, the sixth-term representative who grew up in Park Slope, but represents a sprawling Brooklyn and Queens district in Congress. “Bob will work tirelessly to bring jobs back to Brooklyn by helping small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy. … And he will advocate for true government accountability and reform.”
For his part, Zuckerman said he was pleased to be backed by Weiner, because, like the congressman, he champions himself as a supporter of “the middle class, small business owners and homeowners,” Zuckerman said.
“Congressman Weiner served six years in the City Council, so he knows what makes a good councilmember,” Zuckerman added.
The two also share a commitment to fighting for a single-payer, British- or Canadian-style health care system that eliminates private insurance companies — an idea that is derided by critics as “Socialized medicine,” but is popular in districts such as the liberal 39th, which includes Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Windsor Terrace and Kensington.
After the endorsement, in fact, the pair were set to begin a petition drive for such a health care program.
“We cannot let our national conversation on health care to be held hostage by the ... smear campaign that is threatening needed reforms,” Zuckerman said.
The good news on Sunday for Zuckerman could help the candidate keep pace with the race’s front-runners, the press darlings Josh Skaller and Brad Lander. Zuckerman has been endorsed by many gay and lesbian organizations and political clubs, but even John Heyer has been in the media more, though mostly for his controversial positions on gay marriage and abortion.
Meanwhile Lander has a long list of endorsements from politicians, unions and public school parent leaders. Skaller’s list is a bit thinner, and, in a bit of early confusion, he shares the nod of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean with Lander.
The fifth candidate in the race is transit advocate Gary Reilly.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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