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At Wit's End

News last week that 54th District Assemblyman Darryl Towns will become the new Housing Commissioner in the Cuomo Administration got political pundit tongues wagging about the pecking order of politics.
     Towns, the 10-term assemblyman and son of 15-term Congressman Ed Towns, will make $150,000. His ascension to the state’s top housing job puts gasoline on talk of both his and his father’s replacement.
     One political blog has it that pops wants to see Darryl’s seat stay in the family with either his sister Deidra Towns or Darryl’s wife Karen Boykin-Towns filling the seat in a special election after Darryl becomes Housing Commissioner on March 14.
     But Darryl put the kabosh on that idea.
     “My wife is very happy where she is as an executive for Pfizer,” Darryl Towns told this newspaper. “And I haven’t spoken to my sister about any interest in the seat.”
     Towns said he would be happy to support term-limited City Councilman Eric Dilan to replace him in the district representing Bushwick, Cypress Hills and East New York.
      Dilan is also said to have the support of Kings County Democratic boss Vito Lopez.
     “He (Dilan) has been a councilman I’ve worked and grown with, and if he’s interested, I would support that,” said the younger Towns.
     Meanwhile, several elected officials appear to be eyeing Ed Towns’ 10th Congressional seat and the chance to go to Washington.
    The three most viable candidates are Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and City Council members Letitia James and Charles Barron  .
     But the 76-year-old Towns is in great physical shape and won’t go down without a fight for the right in continuing to represent East New York, Canarsie, Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill, Cypress Hills, Mill Basin and Midwood.
     “The congressman has stated emphatically many times that he will run again in 2012,” said Towns’ Communications Director Charles E. Lewis.
      Of the three viable candidates, only Barron is willing to take on Towns.
     “He (Towns) is in trouble. That’s my seat,” said Barron, who pulled a respectable 38 percent of the vote when he ran against Ed Towns in 2006. “Pundits may feel uncomfortable with me, but they have to admit I’m the front-runner. The two other candidates (James and Jeffries) would not even dare to run against Ed Towns because they are cut from the same cloth.”
     Jeffries spokeswoman Lupe Todd had no comment regarding any plans of the assemblyman to run for Congress.
     “The assemblyman remains focused on representing the residents of the 57th District in Albany,” said Todd, adding he also looks forward to a continued good relationship in Albany with Darryl Towns.
     James said Congressman Towns is not going anywhere and she supports him wholeheartedly.
     “The demise of Congressman Towns is premature,” said James. “The last time I saw Congressman Towns he was the last person on the dance floor.”

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