West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 22 | Oct. 31 - Nov. 06, 2007

D.I.D. reluctantly endorses Clinton for president

By Lincoln Anderson

Two more Downtown Democratic political clubs have endorsed in the presidential primary race — one albeit without much enthusiasm.

Downtown Independent Democrats held its endorsement meeting last week and the initial consensus was for none. However, Sean Sweeney, the club’s president, said that since D.I.D. mails a voters’ guide to all so-called prime voters, club members ultimately decided it was important to support someone.

“We felt it incumbent to give our neighbors something with pith to bring into the voting booth with them,” Sweeney said.

D.I.D. endorsed Jonathan Tasini against Clinton by a slim margin last year in the Senate Democratic primary race. Tasini is backing John Edwards for president.

“Initially, there was some vacillation about endorsing her, for various obvious reasons,” Sweeney said of Clinton. “There seemed no clear consensus on any one candidate. Although several liked Hillary, others still had trepidation.

“However, we felt that Hillary was very helpful after 9/11 down in our part, which covers Ground Zero, that she was the most experienced, and set to be on the ground running the day after she were to win,” Sweeney said. “She also works well with our local elected officials. Another candidate would have to start from scratch with our local electeds. She also has experience, is well-known to world leaders, has Bill’s assistance, is smart and is a woman.

“When it was noted that the purpose of our political club is to endorse qualified candidates, and since the voters in our district have come to rely on our voters’ guide, which we intend to publish as we do every year a week before the election, it seemed inappropriate not to endorse,” Sweeney said. “In other words, our basic mandate is to endorse. The voters’ guide would have looked silly if we told voters that we politicos could not decide on a candidate.”

The tally was 13 votes for Clinton and two for Edwards.

In addition, Village Reform Democratic Club also has endorsed Clinton. About 25 people participated in V.R.D.C.’s endorsement vote, with roughly 75 percent going for Clinton and the rest for Barack Obama.

V.R.D.C. President Noah Yago spoke for Clinton before the vote. He was out of the country on business early this week.

Despite the setback, the club’s Obama supporters were undeterred. Their candidate has strong support in the East Village, where V.R.D.C. has been building membership and where Obama’s grassroots campaign is being coordinated by veteran local politico Howard Hemsley.

State Democratic Committeeman Arthur Schwartz spoke for Obama before the vote.

Ray Cline, a past V.R.D.C. president, was among those voting for Obama.

“Are you surprised?” he asked a reporter. “I feel he’s the future, more so than Hillary. I see him like a John F. Kennedy figure. And I think a lot of people in the Village will support Obama.”

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