New York: Conservation Voters Tap Tonko in Primary

Posted August 1, 2008 at 5:06pm

The New York League of Conservation Voters on Friday endorsed former state Assemblyman Paul Tonko (D) in the race to replace retiring Rep. Mike McNulty (D).

The environmental group cited Tonko’s commitment to fighting climate change and his work to promote new energy sources, both when he was in the Assembly and when he served as CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

“Energy is the most important issue facing our nation right now, and Paul Tonko has the experience and expertise that we need on Capitol Hill,” James Melius, chairman of NYLCV’s Capital District Chapter, said in a statement.

Tonko is in a crowded Sept. 9 Democratic primary that will almost certainly determine who succeeds McNulty in the Albany-area district. His principal opponents appear to be Albany County Legislator Phil Steck (D) and Tracey Brooks, a former aide to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D).

Steck late last week began placing robocalls into 60,000 Democratic households, vowing to fight the “special interests and lobbyists [who] control Washington.”

In a related development, a long shot candidate in the Democratic race, former Congressional aide Darius Shahinfar, has hired Joe Trippi & Associates as its media and Internet consultant, according to the Albany Times Union. Another member of Trippi’s firm, Daren Berringer, will be Shahinfar’s general consultant.

Despite Call for Reform, Koch Endorses Towns

Despite recently calling for new blood and reform in New York politics, former New York Mayor Ed Koch (D) has endorsed Rep. Edolphus Towns (D) in his bid for a 14th term.

Koch told the New York Daily News that he has known Towns for 35 years and believes he is a “fine person, a man of character.”

In the Sept. 9 Democratic primary, Towns is facing author and community activist Kevin Powell, who has cast himself as a reformer and change agent.

Koch said he could not endorse Powell because he has been accused of beating up women when he was in college.

“You don’t change someone who has fine character, has done a good job and you’ve known, as I said, for at least 35 years, for someone who has no record of achievement and has demonstrated a bad habit,” Koch told the newspaper.

While not denying that he had a problem with his temper as a younger man, Powell has tried to show that he has changed and is using the support of Gloria Steinem and other well-known feminists to try to prove his point.