QUEENS — The Rev. Floyd Flake, a prominent pastor and former congressman, has thrown his support behind Melinda Katz for Queens borough president, disappointing Jamaica Councilman Leroy Comrie, who is running for the same office and has often worked with Flake on local issues.
Comrie's staff initially questioned Flake's endorsement, after Katz sent a press release about it on Monday.
"He did not endorse Melinda Katz," Jerry Williams, campaign manager for Comrie, said Tuesday.
Williams said that Comrie met with Flake earlier this week and the pastor told him he was not going to endorse anybody until June.
But Flake issued a statement on Thursday evening reaffirming his endorsement.
"Whereas, I have a great deal of respect for Councilman Leroy Comrie and the work that he has done in the Southeast Queens community, I hereby confirm my endorsement of Melinda Katz for the position of Borough President of Queens," he wrote in the statement.
"She has worked with me during the period when I brought in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) buildings [in southeast Queens]."
Williams said the move was shocking.
"It almost knocked the breath out of us," he said. "But this is politics, stuff happens and life goes on.
"It's not gonna stop the councilmember from becoming the next borough president."
Flake, who served in Congress from 1987 to 1997, is a prominent figure in Jamaica. Currently, he serves as the senior pastor of the Greater Allen A.M.E Cathedral of New York in Jamaica, Queens, which has more than 20,000 members, according to its website.
Katz, who also got an endorsement from the late Ed Koch, is one of seven candidates in the race, which includes City Councilmen Comrie and Peter Vallone Jr.; two state senators, Jose Peralta and Tony Avella; and Barry Grodenchik, who has worked as a staffer at Queens Borough Hall.