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Report: Assemblyman Prepares for Open Seat

Freshman state Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D) is hosting a high-dollar fundraiser in the lower Manhattan financial district next month, prompting speculation that he is building a war chest to run for Congress whenever Rep. Edolphus Towns (D) decides to retire.

Jeffries did not do much to tamp down the speculation, which was first reported in the New York Daily News last week. He told the newspaper that he wouldn’t rule out a run for Congress, though he does not appear to be in a hurry to replace Towns, who is in his 13th term.

“I think we should allow the Congressman some time to capitalize on his seniority and the fact that he’s now in the majority,” Jeffries said.

Although whatever Jeffries raises for his state campaign fund cannot automatically be transferred into a Congressional account, any show of financial strength would not be insignificant, because there is likely to be a multicandidate Democratic primary for Towns’ Brooklyn-based seat whenever it becomes vacant. Jeffries is asking donors to contribute up to $2,500 at the fundraiser, which is being headlined by City Comptroller William Thompson (D), a likely contender for mayor in 2009.

Towns won a hard-fought three-way primary in 2006.

— Josh Kurtz

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