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For Congress in the 10th, Ed Towns

In the 10th Congressional District — which stretches through central Brooklyn and includes parts of DUMBO, Fort Greene, Boerum Hill and Prospect Heights — voters are asked to choose between a candidate who’s right on local issues, and one attuned to foreign affairs but out to lunch domestically.

We reluctantly endorse the latter: the lackluster incumbent, Rep. Ed Towns, over his spirited challenger, City Councilman Charles Barron.

Were this merely a referendum on local issues, we might well favor Barron — a former Black Panther who still holds dear the spirit and passion of the 1960s. Like Chris Owens, a candidate in the neighboring 11th District, Barron’s idealism is precious, and believable — but it’s somewhat unworkable in today’s world and in a Congress dominated by the Republicans.

Towns, who has been in office since 1982, has a thin record of achievement. He often votes with the Republican majority — as he did on the estate tax cut, a punitive bankruptcy bill, and President Bush’s energy policy — and against the apparent interests of his constituents.

But on the largest issues — including foreign affairs — Towns votes correctly and has a real-world world view. And if the Democrats take back the House, Towns’s seniority will give him added clout.

A third candidate, Assemblyman Roger Green, is without merit. Green resigned his Assembly seat, then won re-election without real opposition, following his 2004 conviction for stealing from taxpayers by submitting false travel vouchers. He is a disgrace even by the usual low standards of Brooklyn politics.

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