25th Senatorial District Race: Salmon Nabs Trufant Endorsement

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State Senatorial candidate Jason Salmon jumped out of the gate to succeed retiring state State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery’s (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Park Slope, Gowanus, Sunset Park) last weekend with a surprising and big endorsement  – that of Reverend Anthony Trufant, head pastor of Clinton Hill’s Emmanuel Baptist Church, 279 Lafayette Avenue.

The megachurch is one of the most prominent religious institutions in Central Brooklyn and boasts several political parishioners including State Attorney General Letitia James.

In a video posted to Salmons twitter feed, Rev. Trufant acknowledged his refrainment from endorsing public political figures for upwards of 30 years but decided to put an end to the ongoing custom, commenting, “I break that habit to put my name solemnly behind Jason Salmon because I believe in him,” he said.

Jason Salmon. Photo from his campaign website.

Salmon, a progressive Democrat, is a current resident of Fort Greene-Clinton Hill and has been involved with community organizing and activism since 2014. From volunteering, he went on to become the community liaison for Montgomery for three years, focusing his attention on issues such as affordable housing and tenant rights in the 25th Senatorial District.

Salmon is currently prioritizing police reform and legalizing cannabis to divest from the prison industrial complex in upstate New York at the forefront of his campaign. Growing up in the Emmanuel Baptist Church, Salmon disclosed to KCP how excited he is in receiving the endorsement from Rev. Trufant and is glad that they see eye to eye on issues that Salmon is running on. 

 “Rev. Trufant understands my connection to my community and in my vision for 2020. I am very excited and proud to work with him to move forward and re-instill values within our community that we’ve grown up with” he said.

Tremaine Wright
Assemblymember Tremaine Wright

The endorsement comes with political intrigue as James is close to Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights), who is also running for the senate seat and who has the endorsement of not only Montgomery but many of Central Brooklyn’s black elected officials.

A James spokesperson said that James cannot make endorsements through the attorney general’s office, but did note that Trufant swore James in as attorney general and she gave her inaugural address at the church.

Among the more contentious issues to look for in this race is the locking of horns between the mainly white- and Latino-led progressive movement and more mainstream black working-class Democrats.

For example, there are many small black homeowners in Bed-Stuy that rent out 1-3 apartments in their brownstones, and who depend on the rents from their tenants. Progressives are pushing for ever-stricter tenants rights protections that could impact these small homeowners if they lose the ability to evict deadbeat tenants.

Additionally, while progressives are pushing for more government and nonprofit control of housing stock, KCP in its ongoing investigative series has written how black and brown homeownership and generational wealth could well be on the frontlines of having property taken through this process.

Jabari Brisport

Also running for the seat is Jabari Brisport, an actor and teacher from Prospect Heights, who has the Democratic Socialists of America endorsement.

According to the State Board of Elections, Salmon currently has the biggest campaign war chest with more than $61,000, while Wright has more than $43,000 and Jabari has about $36,000.

The primary is slated for June 23.