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Congressman Ed Towns Stepping Down

By Jill Colvin | April 16, 2012 12:08pm
Rep. Ed Towns has reportedly decided not to seek reelection this year.
Rep. Ed Towns has reportedly decided not to seek reelection this year.
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CITY HALL — Rep. Ed Towns, the 15-term Brooklyn Congressman, will not run for re-election in 2012.

Towns confirmed his decision in a statement Monday morning after news broke Sunday night that he was considering standing down from a competitive Democratic primary race.

"After months of long family discussions, I have decided not to seek reelection for my seat in the United State House of Representatives," he said in his statement.

"I am very grateful for the support I have received over the years. I believe firmly that we would have won a 16th terms had we decided to run."

Towns, who served as chair of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform committee during his tenure, was facing a tough Democratic primary race against Hakeem Jeffries, the popular Brooklyn Assemblyman, and City Councilman Charles Barron, a former Black Panther Party member.

The latest campaign filing reports showed Towns trailing Jeffries in terms of fundraising, with Jeffries raising $240,000 during the first three months of 2012, versus less than $200,000 for Towns.

Barron had raised $44,000 over the same period, the filings show.

Towns began his career back in the late '70s as the first African American Deputy Borough President, and four years later began representing the borough in the House.

In addition to his committee appointments, he also served as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and founded the Congressional Social Work Caucus.

"I am proud to have brought millions of dollars into my district for much needed improvements, fought corruption on Wall Street as Chair of the Congressional Oversight Committee and helped to bring healthcare to millions of uninsured Americans as a devoted advocate of healthcare reform,” he said of his 30-year tenure.

"It has been an honor to have fought so that the people of New York can have more opportunities and a chance to live better lives."

Towns is now the second long-time New York Congressman to announce his retirement this year.  Queens Rep. Gary Ackerman also decided not to run, paving the way for a heated primary race.