In Brooklyn Race, It’s Mugabe, Qaddafi, Whatever

While Democratic officials break a sweat over Barron’s gain, he and his voters ignore the hype. “I don’t focus on quotes,” the candidate said.

Charles Barron thinks that Robert Mugabe is a freedom fighter, Muammar Qaddafi is a hero, and that Israel is a terrorist — but out in East New York, they don’t much care.

In a series of interviews at Barron’s events over the last week, the African-American voters expected to decide the low-turnout Brooklyn Congressional primary said that while they may not share Barron’s impulse to slap a random white person, it’s not exactly top of mind.

Joyce Brayboy, a retired voter from the 8th District, told BuzzFeed that she’s voting for Councilman Barron because she feels that his political record has “dealt with people issues,” and that she wants someone to represent her local issues.

“I can’t say that I agree with everything in the international realm,” she said, adding of Mugabe and Qaddafi: “I’m not going to say they’re bad people - they’re human, not evil.”

Ms. Brayboy reiterated her belief that Mr. Barron is “very fluent with the needs of the community,” and “is going to fight for community needs.”

Before a group of New York Latino leaders endorsed Barron last week at City Hall, Miriam Gonzales, a currently unemployed Barron supporter toting a ‘Charles Barron for Congress’ sign, told BuzzFeed that she has little issue with Mr. Barron’s Israel stances.

Her main foreign policy view: “they should be interested in us here.”

Two retired attendees of the June 7th debate between Mr. Barron and Mr. Jeffries considered Barron the better candidate, and emphasized that their support had to do with his concern for the community issue closest at hand: poverty. However, in response to questions of his anti-Israel activism and eulogy of Muammar Gaddafi as a “freedom fighter,” one woman paused and said, “he should speak about these things.”

“I’m not looking for someone to partner with the president, I’m looking for someone to partner with the people,” said a school teacher currently living in East Brooklyn. “Last month he was in my community education council… every month I can count on seeing that face bringing the issues of the community- I see he’s there for the people.”

As for Libya, the teacher said: “People have a lot of opinions and personal views, they have issues with gay marriage, but that’s your personal view. My priority is education.”

Some of Barron’s better informed supporters would simply rather not talk about it.

Luis Ramos, a blogger from Bedford-Stuyvesant and avid supporter of Mr. Barron, insisted that he would “stay in the now and not go into the past.”

Barron, meanwhile, says he’s refusing to talk about his past statements for the very reason that his voters don’t care.

“I don’t focus on quotes, nobody in my district is focusing on quotes,” he told BuzzFeed. “We’re not gonna allow reporters, or the opposition whose campaign is desperate now because we’re surging ahead, to distract us from the quality of life issues.”

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