As longtime incumbent Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez protested city budget cuts and stumped for votes in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Monday, her Democratic primary challenger, City Councilman Erik Martin Dilan, touted his endorsement from the city's construction trades. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez told residents in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Monday, "We have to fight to make sure we get this economy back on track," but she may have to fight for more than that.
Velazquez has to fight to keep her seat in Congress, as for the first time in 20 years, she faces a serious primary challenge, from City Councilman Erik Martin Dilan.
With a new district stretching farther into Northern Brooklyn, the candidates will likely fight over territory in Williamsburg, where the factions of the Satmar Jewish community have split.
So on Monday, with young children in tow, Velazquez took her stumping to Williamsburg, where she chided Mayor Michael Bloomberg for proposed budget cuts to day care and brushed off the primary challenge.
"They know my record. They will judge me and the rest of the candidates on Election Day based on what they know of every candidate, what they know about me, and, believe me, I feel very good," said Velazquez. "I have the backing of my community."
The representative has won the backing of President Barack Obama and on Monday got the endorsement of former Mayor Ed Koch.
Meanwhile, Dilan touted his latest endorsement — the city's construction trades.
"The biggest complaint that I get constantly is the current office holder, they never see, they never see in the neighborhood. And they think she is a Washington insider," said Dilan.
Some see the race as the latest round between Velazquez and the Brooklyn Democratic Party chairman, Assemblyman Vito Lopez, as Lopez has backed Dilan.
Dilan has slammed Velazquez, claiming she has sided with big banks over small businesses, echoing a line from a website for a political action committee hoping to "Knock Out Nydia."
"We have an incumbent that has been in the job for 20 years and has gotten pretty comfortable," said Dilan.
The candidates will debate on "Inside City Hall" at 7 and 10 p.m. Friday.