"He never brought it up to me directly," insists Sharpton, adding that Louima had informed one of his attorneys, Sanford Rubenstein, that he was backing Hevesi. "Rubenstein told me he told Abner he disagreed with his decision. I would have told him, 'You're supporting someone who didn't even get what happened to you. You should always stand for those that stood for you.' I would have told him him that a lot of people marched and stood up for you when Hevesi wasn't getting it, when Hevesi was acting like Rudy Giuliani."
According to an aide who was with Sharpton following his release from prison, many black voters won't be taking their cue from Louima. As word spread that Louima waited several days before reaching out to the widow of Carl W. ThomasLouima's former attorney who first alerted the public to the police torture of the Haitian immigrantformer supporters began to back away from him. "That hurt Louima," says the aide. "A lot of his own supporters felt like he had betrayed them." The aide argued that "Louima did not give Hevesi a bump in the polls," noting that a Marist poll, released last week, showing Green stretching his lead over Ferrer, Hevesi, and City Council Speaker Peter Vallone. Among likely Democratic voters, the poll found Green would win 34 percent, Hevesi and Ferrer would each get 17 percent, and Vallone would get 10 percent.
The battle for the black vote raged on Sunday with Ferrer securing the endorsement of Reverend James A. Forbes Jr., the senior minister of the 2400-member, multiracial Riverside Church in Morningside Heights. "This is my choice based on my ideals," said the 74-year-old Forbes, who was described by New York Times reporter Somini Sengupta as "one of the most prominent clerical voices for leftist causes." On Monday, while announcing the formation of his presidential exploratory committee, Sharpton lamented that "progressive leadership is in a deep crisis at the moment in the Democratic Party and outside." He told the Voice he is concerned about the fractious state of the black vote. "A lot of people cut their own deals, a lot of them have their own contracts," he charged. "Some people just don't like each other."