Powell vs Towns, take three

Is three times the charm for Powell?

Political activist, writer and entertainer Kevin Powell will make a third attempt to unseat 24-year incumbent Rep. Edolphus Towns in Brooklyn’s 10th Congressional District, according to sources close to the candidate.

Powell first tried to beat Towns in 2006, but wound up dropping out of the race. In 2008, Powell again ran and lost handily, despite getting plenty of celebrity endorsements from such luminaries as comedian Chris Rock and holding several fund-raisers in Manhattan.

In the 2008 race, Towns hammered at Powell’s history of violence against women – something that Powell has written about and said he has overcome through therapy.

While Powell has support and/or name recognition in Brownstone belt areas of the district as Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Downtown Brookyn and Boerum Hill, his use of a bodyguard and celebrity status didn’t resonate in such working-class neighborhoods as Canarsie, Mill Basin, Midwood, Brownsville and East New York, where he got clobbered at the polls.

So here’s our tip for his upcoming campaign: To beat a tough old bird like Towns, you better hit Rockaway Parkway, where nuts and bolts issues like foreclosures and employment are more important than celebrity friends and MTV-covered fund-raisers.

It’s good to be Golden

A handful of Republicans might be the only thing standing between Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge) and a breeze of an election next November. “Republican infighters are more motivated about Golden than are the Democrats…though there may just be 20 of them,” noted one local political observer.

After all, the person noted, its local Democrats who are the recipients of Golden’s largesse — so why rock the boat?

“The Dems seem to get all the gravy,” the person said, adding that the lawmaker’s munificence shows itself through member items, as well as ubiquitous photo ops. And in the 44th Council race, Golden is endorsing Democrat David Greenfield — the choice of Dem party boss Vito Lopez. “I’m sure Vito is grateful,” the person said. “And up until that point Dov [Hikind] certainly had no complaints.”

Another longtime political observer put it delicately: “Have you seen his f–king poll numbers? It’s a very difficult seat to flip.” The person took a breath, and continued, “He works very cooperatively with Dems — Millman, et al — on local issues — read pork, parks, etc. He is also the darling of his own conference. Where is the angle for a candidate to play?”

Fence dancing

It’s a clear case of Michael in the middle, at least according to the office of Representative Michael McMahon (D-Bay Ridge), which recently sent out a press release touting the conclusion of National Journal Magazine that McMahon, who represents the 13th C.D., is the most centrist of all 435 legislators now in the House of Representatives.

The press release avers that the magazine’s finding, which ties McMahon and Representative Michael Arcuri, who represents part of upstate New York, at dead center, “only further evidences Rep. McMahon’s demonstrated commitment to the traditional values of Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn.”

“It is not hard for me to figure out the right vote. But I sometimes have to explain it to my colleagues,” McMahon told National Journal. “Some Democrats tell me that I should vote for the greater good of the party. I tell them that I vote for my district and its interests.”

Since taking office in January of last year, McMahon has voted to the left in some instances, to the right in others. Most notably, he tacked leftward in supporting cap-and-trade legislation aimed at reducing the country’s carbon footprint, and rightward in opposing the health care reform bill still under discussion in D.C.

According to National Journal, McMahon’s voting record shows a more liberal bent on social issues, and a more conservative approach to fiscal matters and national security.

While Brooklyn is considered to be among the most liberal counties in the nation, none of the borough’s representatives fell into National Journal’s list of the 25 most liberal representatives, though both of New York’s senators, Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, made it into the list of the 15 most liberal senators, Gillibrand tied for number 11, and Schumer at number 15.

Levin on Levin

Michigan Congressman Sander Levin (D-Michigan) replaced embattled Harlem Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-New York) as acting Chair of the House’s powerful Ways and Means Committee.

While many New York legislators and political observers are calculating the impact of Rangel’s departure, Council member Steve Levin (D-Brooklyn Heights), who is a first cousin of Sander Levin, welcomed the news with the knowledge that the new Ways and Means head is only a phone call away… and that it will actually get returned promptly.

“I want to congratulate my cousin and dear friend, Sandy Levin, on becoming chair of the Ways and Means Committee,” said Steve Levin. “He is a brilliant Congressman and I know he will help guide the Congress through these difficult economic times.”

Blogging pols

Brooklyn’s local elected officials are pretty high-tech.

Borough President Marty Markowitz has his own YouTube channel – http://www.youtube.com/user/BrooklynMarty.

City Councilman Domenic Recchia (D-Coney Island) has a Flickr account – http://www.flickr.com/photos/31824993@N02/.

And City Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge) has a blog – http://vincentgentile.blogspot.com. Oh, and a Facebook page. Gotta keep up with the kids.

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