Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, D-Fort Greene, continues to attract national attention—even drawing comparisons to a certain well-known occupant of the White House.
Citing Jeffries' youth, intelligence, ability to transcend racial lines and charm, an online publication, NewsOne For Black America, likened the 8th Congressional District candidate to President Barack Obama in an article appearing Monday.
A profile in Saturday's Washington Post recounted his rise to the state Assembly, and how Congressional redistricting continues to affect his career.
In April, on Fulton Street in Clinton Hill, with several big-ticket endorsements following suit, including key backing from a 64,000-member strong . He also has a history of pushing to reform law enforcement-related policies, such as , , and —issues that have sometimes attracted national attention.
With the announced retirement of Rep. Ed Towns, and the redrawing of the Congressional district lines, the Jeffries campaign feels it has a serious shot. The addition of more white conservatives to the new 8th Congressional District may help him against opponent Councilman Charles Barron, D-East New York, whose political views more align with the underrepresented and the poor.
And Jeffries' fundraising has so far outstripped Barron's.
However, as a moderate Democrat, Jeffries has been criticized by the more liberal members of his party on issues like his support for charter schools.
But it's the parallels with Obama that seem to have made the strongest impression amongst fellow politicians. Former Mayor Ed Koch cited Jeffries' intelligence and good looks. Theodore Wells, Jeffries' legal mentor at the New York law firm Paul Weiss, credited his multicultural upbringing for his broad-based appeal.
But Barron says he isn't intimidated, either by his opponent's war chest or political fans. He says that Jeffries lack of experience outside of his district marks him as politically inexperienced. And Barron points to his ability to draw white liberals to his campaign in his close primary race with Towns in the 2006 primary.
If Jeffries were to take the June 26 primary and then overcome an expected general election challenge by Green Party pick , it could be the start of a larger political career.