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Club’s endorsement called ‘trickery’

Brooklyn Daily
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A new under-the-radar political club, named after the wildly popular Michelle Obama, threw its support behind a controversial Crown Heights state pol last month — but the former First Lady is making it clear she does not support the incumbent.

Last week, as first reported by Bklyner, state Sen. Jesse Hamilton — who caucused with the Republicans up in Albany as a member of the breakaway bloc the Independent Democratic Conference until it folded in April — sent out an e-mail asking for support and donations as his re-election bid heats up against primary challenger Zellnor Myrie, who recently received the endorsement of Mayor DeBlasio and a slew of other local pols.

The Aug. 29 solicitation came from Hamilton’s official campaign account, but portrayed itself as coming from the previously unknown “Michelle Obama Political Club.”

Many were quick to suspect the club is a sham, since it has no website, no phone number, and almost no familiarity in the neighborhood — not to mention how unlikely it would be for the famously progressive former First Lady to side with an incumber who sided with Republicans.

“Yet more of (Hamilton’s) trickery. Pretty sure (Michelle Obama) wouldn’t want to be associated with this IDC turncoat any more than the rest of us do!” Prospect-Lefferts Gardens resident Barbara Rogers wrote on social media.

But Lindiwe Kamau, owner of Nostrand Avenue’s Expression in Ceramics — where in 2016 she hosted a phone-banking event for then-Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as part of something called the “Michelle Obama Democratic Club” — told Bklyner she founded the “Michelle Obama Political Club” just a few months ago, that it has no official members, and wholeheartedly supports Hamilton.

“We just put it together a few months ago,” Kamau told the website. “We don’t have a social media presence or an official website.”

And Kamau went on to defend herself on social media after many questioned the club’s legitimacy.

“I have often solicited the support of elected officials and Jesse Hamilton has stood with this community,” Kamau wrote on a Prospect-Lefferts Gardens Facebook group. “He has affected much of the change in our neighborhoods that you get to enjoy today. And so yes, I, Lindiwe Kamau, unapologetically endorse Jesse Hamilton in this race. Again, no hidden agenda. And no amount of political bullying will change my position.”

Officials from the former First Lady’s office told Bklyner that she has not endorsed Hamilton and has not heard of the Michelle Obama Political Club.

Hamilton’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but this isn’t the first time Hamilton’s campaign has come under fire for allegedly setting up front groups to do his bidding.

Critics blasted the Crown Heights pol in July for allegedly creating a faux political website from which to send out an allegedly slanderous e-mail about one of his Albany colleagues after she threw her support behind Myrie.

• • •

Mark your calendars!

Leaders of the Brooklyn Democratic Party set its twice-yearly meeting for later this month.

The often-contentious and rowdy county committee meeting will be on Sept. 27 at the Leon M. Goldstein Performing Arts Center at Kingsborough Community College — following the last one back in January.

Brooklyn Democratic County Committee meeting at Kingsborough Community College (2001 Oriental Blvd in Manhattan Beach). Sept. 27, 8 pm.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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