Politics Mondays: Firebrand Lenora Fulani To Seek Citywide Office by Karla Schuster

Lenora Fulani, the controversial Independence Party activist, announced Thursday that she has launched an exploratory committee to run for citywide office in 2009.

Fulani, 57, accused of anti-Semitism based on several remarks she made in the late 1980s and mid-1990s, would not say which office she may seek, although it is widely believed she is considering a run for mayor.

Thursday, before about 100 supporters who gathered on the steps of City Hall, Fulani repudiated her previous statements, which included such remarks as: "Jews function as mass murderers of people of color."

"The language I used was harsh and today I would call it excessive," Fulani said.

She said she wanted to build on the work of the Bloomberg administration.

"Here in New York we have made some genuine progress in creating a new culture that is more oriented toward people than to political gain," Fulani said. "Obviously, there is much more to do."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who accepted the Independence Party endorsement in 2001 and 2005, distanced himself from Fulani in 2005 over her remarks after she refused in a television interview to apologize for them.

"I do not agree with Lenora Fulani on virtually anything I've ever heard her say," the mayor said at the time. "But every party is made up of lots of people."

At an unrelated news conference in midtown Thursday, Bloomberg had little to say about Fulani's political prospects.

"I'm not taking any position on who should be mayor," Bloomberg said. "... Everybody has a right, if you live in the city and are of a certain age, to run for mayor."

Editor's Note: This article appeared at AM New York.

Monday, August 13, 2007