It’s a Hit Parade for Politicians and the West Indian Community
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While the West Indian Day Parade had its share of floats and feather-adorned costumes, more than anything it was a parade of politicians.
Candidates for every major statewide office marched down Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn yesterday, stopping to shake hands and pose for photos in one of the last campaign appearances before the September 12 primary.
The parade is an annual stop for many elected officials, but in an election year it is practically a requirement. Senator Clinton, gubernatorial candidates Eliot Spitzer and Thomas Suozzi, attorney general contenders, congressional aspirants, and dozens of others waved their campaign signs as they stopped to talk to those who lined the route carrying flags from Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad, and other West Indian countries.
The crowd at the pre-parade breakfast was so thick with politicians that Mayor Bloomberg, a candidate last summer who is rumored to be interested in running for president, noted: “There are only a handful of people — myself, Christine Quinn, Billy Thompson, Joe Hynes, and Marty Markowitz — who are not running for office.” Then, he added: “This November.”
Mr. Spitzer, who is leading Mr. Suozzi in the public opinion polls by 78% to 15%, said yesterday he has no plans to let up on his campaigning in the week before the election. He and his running mate, David Patterson, are leaving on a 14-city bus tour tomorrow. They will spend two days hop-scotching across the state.
“There is nothing in the bag — in politics, in sports, in any game I’ve ever played,” Mr. Spitzer said as he stopped to shake hands with a police officer. “You fight till the last minute.You take nothing for granted.”
Mr. Suozzi, whose campaign aides sang “Suozzi is Hot, Hot, Hot” as he walked down the thoroughfare, told Mr. Spitzer earlier in the day that instead of asking for a debate he was challenging him to a limbo contest in honor of the day’s festivities. It never happened.
The Republican candidate for governor, John Faso, was not at the parade. A spokeswoman for his campaign said he was upstate marching in a parade there. The two Republicans who are competing to run against Mrs. Clinton, John Spencer and Kathleen Troia McFarland, also did not attend.
The four-way Democratic contest for attorney general is considered the most contentious statewide race this year. The winner will take on Republican Jeannie Pirro, who was marching yesterday behind a black Hummer sport-utility vehicles covered with her campaign signs.
Front-runner Andrew Cuomo and his closest challenger, Mark Green, have been exchanging regular jabs.
Mr. Green has been attacking Mr. Cuomo’s record as housing secretary under President Clinton, and Mr. Cuomo just launched a television commercial attacking Mr. Green as a “perennial candidate.”
Yesterday, Mr. Cuomo announced endorsements by some Caribbean-American leaders while Mr. Green positioned his team behind Mr. Spitzer during the parade and wiggled his way into several photos with the popular attorney general.
One spectator, who was leaning on a bike as the smell of jerk chicken and roasted corn wafted through the air, said he was glad to see the candidates lining up but that he didn’t think their last-minute campaigning would change any minds. “You’re going to vote for whoever you’ve decided to vote for,” the longtime Brooklyn resident, Leonard Young, said.