Mark Levine, the Upper Manhattan City Council Candidate who hopes to represent a heavily minority district, is hoping that a widely condemned email by an opponent highlighting Levine's race and religion will bring in some campaign cash.
In his own e-mail to supporters and potential donors, Levine includes a link to The Jewish Week's Nov. 27 story about Thomas Lopez Pierre's warning about the impact of "a white/Jewish candidate" who could be elected "like a thief in the night."
Levine also includes links to other press coverage and declares "One of my opponents continues to seek to divide us with anti-Semitic, racially divisive attacks ... But I am heartened by the fact that these tactics have received nearly universal condemnation, and hundreds have already signed our petition to “Say no to hate, say yes to unity.”
Levine provides the URL to a web site dedicated to taking contributions by those offended by Lopez-Pierre's tactics, as well as other information on donating.
"My response to him is a message of unity around progressive activism," Levine told us in a phone interview Monday. "I have actually tried very hard not to directly respond to him or dignify what he's saying because it is so self-evidently absurd."
But Levine says the campaign against him by Lopez-Pierre has been "escalating" with new divisive emails. "To make progressive change we all have to work together, so I see this as a positive response to a very negative message," Levine said.
Levine and Lopez-Pierre, both Democrats and party activists, are just two of many candidates hoping to square off in the 7th District Democrat primary in September to succeed Robert Jackson, who plans to run for Manhattan borough president and must leave the Council because of term limits.
In his e-mail last month Lopez-Pierre, who is of Haitian and Dominican lineage, called for minority leaders to unite behind one black and one Latino candidate, lest the large field of expected candidates from those communities divide the minority vote, to Levine's advantage.
In an interview, Lopez-Pierre told The Jewish Week he did not believe Levine would represent the interests of the district's neediest residents.
Jackson, the incumbent, joined with Jewish leaders in condemining Lopez-PIerre's e-mail, calling it "racist."
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