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opponent Fred Samuel who we knew was seriously ill. When reporters
asked him about that he said, “No, he was not running on the basis of
Mr. Samuel's illness, he was running on the basis of issues.” He
came quite close to winning the primaries, I think. It was just a
matter of about two hundred and thirty five votes that separated him
from the incumbent who was quite popular in the community. As you
know, two or three days after the primary Fred Samuel died and that
raised the issue of who would fill out his unexpired term.
Well, some very powerful black politicians in the community such
as Congressman [Charles] Rangel, David Dinkins, Basil Paterson did
not support Hilton for that unexpired term. I found that difficult
to understand in light of the fact that Hilton had supported them.
Certainly, Rangel's first campaign against Adam Powell was one that
Hilton chaired and ran, really. They had had some problems within
the last few years but I didn't think they were the intensity that
would cause Rangel to oppose him actively. Hilton supported Dinkins
and helped to run his campaign when he ran for borough president four
years ago, they had a close working relationship. But anyway, he had
to go before the Democratic District Committee. They had to make
that decision. Without their support, not only without their support
but really opposing him. I was fascinated with the fact that he was
confident that he was going to win the Committee. I asked him if he
were going to make a statement or give a talk before the Committee.
He said, “No.” The nine thousand plus votes that he got in the
primary would be as strong a statement as could be made. He didn't
think that he could make any stronger statement than that vote, and
it would be up to the members of the Committee.
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