Coalition Confusion

McCall Crowns Ferrer, but Sharpton, Rivera, Rangel Skip the Coronation

"My guess is it was spun out," Ferrer suggested again, though he quickly added he doesn't think Rivera is "cooperating" with his opponents. Hevesi's Morris is on Rivera's payroll as a media consultant, is doing a major current project for Rivera, and has been lobbying him about Hevesi's longstanding track record of support for Rivera's union. Morris says he had nothing to do with either Sharpton's or Rivera's recent statements, adding, "It's insulting for anyone to think that anyone tells Dennis Rivera or the members of 1199 or SIEU what to do."

On the other hand, the one batch of recent quotes from a major black leader that appeared helpful to Ferrer might not be all they were cracked up to be. Harlem congressman Charlie Rangel told the Daily News' Juan Gonzalez that he preferred Ferrer, rating him first among the four candidates and Hevesi last. But Rangel told the Voice, "My preferences will have very little to do with whom I support. I said I like Freddy; that's all. I think a closer reading of the article would indicate that. The ability to win will decide who I endorse."

Rangel, who is widely seen as the city's most influential black leader, refused to answer a question about whether he had "doubts" about Ferrer's ability to win. "I'm no good at that," said Rangel, indicating he relied on others, like former deputy mayor Bill Lynch, to advise him on that score. "They do better at that than I do," Rangel said. Lynch, who is backing Ferrer, says he definitely believes Ferrer "can win."

Rangel says that he, Sharpton, Queens congressman Gregory Meeks, and "many others" he would not name "are on the same page as of this reading" in picking a candidate to jointly back, but that "anytime anybody decides" that this decision-making process "isn't working" for them, it may end. Meeks included Rivera, DC 37's Lee Saunders, Manhattan borough president Virginia Fields, Teamsters Local 237 leaders, and other undecideds in the group that he said "is meeting almost weekly" in this joint process. Asked if the group was following his lead, Rangel said, "I wouldn't be meeting with them if I thought they were just following my lead."


Research: Robbie Chaplick, Laurence Pantin, and Theodore Ross

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