New York: Author Hopes to Go to Towns on Congressman

Posted April 28, 2008 at 6:39pm

Although he has been talking about it for months, author and community activist Kevin Powell on Sunday formally entered the Democratic primary against 13-term Rep. Edolphus Towns.

Powell, a 42-year-old former “Real World” contestant and biographer of rap star Tupac Shakur, accused Towns of ignoring the needs of the 10th district and signaled that he plans to make his youth a selling point in his bid to oust the 73-year-old Congressman.

“I’m running because I’ve been a community organizer and not someone who’s been sitting behind a desk,” Powell said in an interview with The New York Times. “I’ve lived in and been involved in this district for 18 years.”

While his central Brooklyn district is a Democratic stronghold, Towns could be vulnerable to a Democratic challenge. Running against a state Assemblyman and a New York City councilman in the 2006 primary, Towns won with just 47 percent of the vote — and he was aided considerably by the split opposition.

Throughout his career, Towns has occasionally run afoul of labor and liberal groups and party leaders — though whether they will rally around Powell remains to be seen more than four months before the primary. Through March 31, Towns had $202,000 in his campaign account, and he expressed confidence that he would prevail once he began campaigning in earnest.

“Once I get out there and apply myself, I’ll do fine,” the Congressman told the Times.

— Josh Kurtz