He’s still undecided about his own future prospects, but former Public Advocate Mark Green is back in the political limelight: as a local booster for Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry.
"I’ll be one of several co-chairs for Kerry," Green, who narrowly lost the 2001 mayoral race to Republican Michael Bloomberg, told The Jewish Week.
One of the cityís best-known Jewish politicians, Green could be an ethnic asset to Kerry, who recently disclosed his own Jewish ancestry.
But an increase in Jewish support here would likely cut into that of another Democratic contender, Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman.
An interesting prospect, since it was Lieberman who offered his prestige as the erstwhile Democratic vice presidential nominee to stump for Green days before he lost the mayoral race.
Is Green being ungrateful?
"Both men helped me in my campaign, but that is the smallest consideration in talking about who could win and should win," said Green, who heads a liberal think tank these days, the New Democracy Project. "I really like Joe Lieberman, who is the mensch that everybody knows.
"But I’ve been both an admirer and friend of Kerry for 20 years and believe he has the commander-in-chief qualities to compete with and beat George W. Bush … in part because of his stellar war heroism in what will be a war-dominated election." Kerry is a Vietnam combat veteran.
A Zogby International poll released last week, however, suggests he’s got some battles to fight on the home front. The poll had Kerry trailing, with 9 percent of likely primary voters behind him.
Kerry’s campaign in New York is chaired by another recently vanquished Democrat, paper-cup magnate Dennis Mehiel, who ran for lieutenant governor last year.
A report in the Boston Globe last week said Kerryís campaign was distancing itself from Green, saying the New York committee was still in formation. The paper noted that some minority groups viewed Green’s 2001 primary against Fernando Ferrer as racially divisive. (Green, who is mulling another run for City Hall or one for attorney general, has long insisted he had no part in distributing the controversial posters and fliers used against Ferrer.)
Kerry spokeswoman Kelly Beanander said on Tuesday: "We’re happy to have the support of Mark Green and we are working on putting together a diverse group to lead the New York team ahead."