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Kenneth ClarkKenneth Clark
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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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