He was called a "malignant clown" by the Daily News this weekend, but New York City Councilman Charles Barron, the controversial Brooklyn Democrat who last year mourned Muammar Qaddafi and hosted Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe at City Hall (and who has called Israel "the biggest terrorist in the world") is getting a big financial boost from local labor unions in his bid for Congress. Ben Smith at Buzzfeed has the scoop:
Two major city public worker unions, District Councils 37 and 1707 of the giant American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, have already endorsed Barron against Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, a relatively moderate legislator who has championed charter schools, a union bugaboo.
And BuzzFeed has learned that their powerful federal parent union, known as AFSCME, is planning to dive into the race on Barron's behalf. Another key New York State public workers union, the Civil Service Employees Association, meanwhile, blocked an AFL-CIO effort to endorse Barron's rival.
"We respect the voice of our members," AFSCME spokesman Chris Policano told BuzzFeed. "With the unanimous endorsement of the three affiliates, there will be money spent in this race.
Even as public sector unions remain on the defensive nationally in the wake of a stinging rebuke in the Wisconsin recall, we shouldn't be surprised they're going with the more economically populist (if also outrageous) candidate in this local race. New York City unions were actively involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, and have been frustrated by a relatively hostile Democratic Governor in Andrew Cuomo.
TODAY IN SLATE
Meet the New Bosses
How the Republicans would run the Senate.
The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.
Why all cracker names sound alike.
Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom
This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059
- Protesters Take to the Streets to Sound Alarm on Climate Change in New York, Across the World
- Knife-Carrying White House Jumper is Vet who Feared “Atmosphere Was Collapsing”
- North Korea: American Sentenced to Hard Labor Wanted to Become “Second Snowden”
- Almost One in Four Americans Support Idea of Splitting From the Union
Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?
A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.