The “machine candidate” just moved into high gear.
Steve Levin, who has racked up endorsements for his race to succeed Councilman David Yassky (D–Williamsburg), was be formally anointed by Sen. Charles Schumer at Borough Hall on Friday, The Brooklyn Paper has learned.
“This is a very big deal,” said Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Bushwick), who is not only the Brooklyn Democratic Party chairman, but also employs Levin has his chief of staff.
That relationship has encouraged Levin’s rivals to paint him as the “machine candidate,” but Lopez called The Brooklyn Paper on Thursday to challenge that.
“He’s his own man, which, I know, coming from me, on a call like this, doesn’t sound, you know…,” Lopez said. “But if you look at his endorsements, there are a lot of groups and people on his list that don’t like me.”
The Schumer endorsement is indeed just the latest for Levin, who has been tapped by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), the League of Conservation Voters, the United Federation of Teachers and DC37, and the Working Families Party.
By comparison, other candidates’ lists are less impressive.
Civil rights attorney Jo Anne Simon — the only woman in the seven-person race to represent the North Brooklyn waterfront and parts of DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and Park Slope — has been endorsed by Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D–Sunset Park) and Ed Towns (D–Fort Greene) and a long list of lesser-known elected officials.
Former Yassky aide Evan Thies has been endorsed by a former “Jeopardy” champion, a Teamsters local, the Freelancers Union — and, perhaps more important, was named a “rising star” by City Hall, a political newspaper.
Being endorsed by Schumer has become something of rite of passage for Brooklyn office-seekers. Last year, New York’s senior senator picked then-Councilman Mike McMahon to succeed Vito Fossella in Congress, and he also chose former staffer Daniel Squadron over incumbent state Sen. Marty Connor. Both candidates won handily.
It’s also worth noting that Levin is a relative of Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan), a political ally of Schumer’s in Washington.
On Friday, Biviano put out a statement lambasting the Schumer endorsement.
“Is Chuck Schumer popping Albany pills?” the statement asked. “If not, then why did he endorse machine candidate Steve Levin instead of putting his support behind single-payer health care?
“The reason Levin continues to pile up these farce endorsements is because [of] his position as Vito Lopez’s chief henchman,” the statement continued. “The people of the 33rd District deserve better.”