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Report: Sharpton to Endorse Ferrer

August 21, 2001

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NEW YORK (AP) _ The Rev. Al Sharpton will endorse Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer in next month’s Democratic mayoral primary, saying the city is ``on the verge of creating history″ by electing its first Latino mayor.

Sharpton, a black civil rights activist who made his own unsuccessful run for mayor four years ago, told the Village Voice newspaper that Ferrer ``has been right on the torturous issues of police brutality and racial profiling.″

The weekly paper, which hits newsstands Wednesday, reported the endorsement Tuesday afternoon on its Web site. It said Sharpton will make a formal announcement shortly before Labor Day.

Sharpton’s endorsement was considered a key prize in the four-man fight for the Democratic mayoral nomination.

With no black candidate running for mayor, Ferrer and his three opponents in the Sept. 11 Democratic primary have been scrambling to align themselves with prominent figures in the black community, a constituency that could help decide a winner in the crowded field.

Sharpton did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the Voice report.

The Ferrer campaign, which had awaited the endorsement for months, reacted cautiously to the report. ``Rev. Sharpton hasn’t made any announcement. I’m sure when the Rev. Sharpton has an announcement to make he will do so,″ said Ferrer spokesman John Del Cecato.

The Democratic field includes City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, Comptroller Alan Hevesi and Public Advocate Mark Green _ the front-runner in two polls released last week.

Sharpton said he expects to campaign for Ferrer in mostly black and Latino neighborhoods. He also plans to do radio ads, some in Spanish, and make voicemail pitches.

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On the Net:

Village Voice: http://www.villagevoice.com

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