A year after he became a key factor in the race for mayor, the Rev. Al Sharpton is looming as a wild card as the race for governor heats up.
Sharpton is supporting the Democrat H. Carl McCall, but has taken a low profile in the campaign, as no one has made an issue of that support. That could change closer to Election Day.
"Jews are the only white community in play in this race," said one McCall insider. "If the election gets tight, this card is going to get played."
H. Carl McCall would do away with closed-door decision making in Albany if elected governor and work with members of Congress on a "New York strategy" for advocating policy on international issues, he told The Jewish Week.
"I'm not going to approve policy issues or budget measures that have not been subject to legislative hearings and public scrutiny," said McCall, addressing the power of the governor, Senate majority leader and Assembly speaker to decide virtually all state business in secret.
After failing to elect a Russian-speaking candidate to the City Council last year, activists in the city's best-known immigrant neighborhood are now backing a non-emigre in a heated Assembly contest.
Susan Lasher, whose husband, Howard, represented Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach and Coney Island in both the City Council and state Assembly, is taking on incumbent Adele Cohen in the Democratic primary Sept. 10.
Lenora Fulani isn't running for anything this year, but the Marxist activist and frequent candidate (who has made controversial statements about Jews, Israel and the Sept. 11 attacks) is fast becoming one of the most talked-about personalities on the political scene.
That's got Jewish leaders worried about elected officials turning a blind eye for quick political gain.
If the black-Latino coalition forged in last year's mayoral race holds together this year, it could spell trouble for state Sen. Eric Schneiderman. The two-term Democrat is facing former Councilman Guillermo Linares, the first Dominican-American elected to public office here, in September's primary for a district that includes areas of northern Manhattan and the Bronx.
With African-American gubernatorial hopeful Carl McCall on the ticket and Latinos running in several local races, minority turnout could bode well for Linares.
Fate can be fickle when you're a member of Congress caught up in the decennial redistricting process. A few weeks back, Bronx Rep. Eliot Engel was emerging as one of the big losers in the process. Now he' singing the praises of the state Legislature committee that drew the new lines.
"I'm absolutely delighted," said Engel, a six-term veteran. "I'm like a kid again!"
Engel's new district includes 50 percent of his old turf, including his home base of Riverdale, and picks up parts of Westchester as well as three heavily Jewish Rockland towns.
A delegation of City Council members will leave for Israel upon the completion of the city budget process, Speaker Gifford Miller announced Sunday.
"We're going to show that we as New Yorkers understand [the situation in Israel] and we want to be supportive in any way we can," Miller told several hundred Jewish community leaders and elected officials at the annual breakfast of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.
She could have been a contender. And as a Jewish woman from upstate, she might have made history running with a downstate African-American man.
But at last week's Democratic state convention, Sandra Frankel yielded to pressure from the gubernatorial campaign of H. Carl McCall and bowed out of the race for lieutenant governor.
Her withdrawal paved the way for Westchester millionaire Dennis Mehiel to overwhelmingly win the party's designation, later to join forces with McCall as his running mate.
Councilman Noach Dear, an ardent backer of President Bill Clinton in New York, will not back Clinton's wife for Senate here, The Jewish Week has learned.
Dear is planning to support Mayor Rudolph Giuliani should he enter the race to succeed Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 2000, according to sources close to Dear.
Dear has raised millions of dollars in the Orthodox community for the two Clinton campaigns and is likely to do the same for Vice President Al Gore in 2000. He traditionally backs Democratic candidates, but supported Giuliani's re-election in 1997.
The words "New York mayor" and "low profile" are rarely uttered in the same breath these days. Rudolph Giuliani tends to dominate the headlines. His predecessor, David Dinkins, has been at the center of recent protests against police policies. And one would practically have to make an effort to avoid the opinions of three-term mayor Ed Koch, a newspaper columnist, TV commentator and, until recently, radio host.