Assemb. Earlene Hooper has lost the support of the Nassau County Democratic Committee, following an outburst in which she accused her opponent, who is also black, of benefiting from “plantation” politics, Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs said Monday.
Hooper (D-Hempstead) made the accusation after crashing a candidates’ forum that was supposed to introduce Taylor Raynor, who is challenging Hooper in a Democratic primary, according to a video first reported by the New York Post.
In the video, which also was posted by Patch.com and News 12 Long Island, Hooper is seen at the microphone while Raynor looks on from nearby, shaking her head. Hooper claims Jacobs propped up Raynor’s insurgent campaign.
“I have been able to survive, and I fight for my people. Then I have to come here and fight with my people,” Hooper said. “It reminds me of what happened before the Civil War, when we were on plantations and someone decided to run, and the person who happened to be in massa’s good graces would tell on Big Jim, who’s planning to run away when it’s dark, when there’s a new moon … So, that’s what happened now, we have a plantation.”
Jacobs said the attack was unfounded and “racist." He said the committee now is taking the extraordinary step of backing a challenger to a longtime incumbent.
“Based on her racist tirade and lack of apology, I have no choice but to back her opponent,” Jacobs said. “The county organization has discussed it and we will be backing Taylor Raynor … and give her the financial backing she needs.”
A person who answered a call to Hooper’s mobile phone hung up on a reporter without identifying herself. The assemblywoman didn’t immediately return a message left with her Nassau district office.
Hooper, an Assembly member since 1988 and the deputy speaker, is being challenged by Raynor, a business analyst who also helps lead an advocacy group called Save Hempstead Students. Raynor has criticized the incumbent for what she calls failing to adequately help the Hempstead and Roosevelt school districts and, she said, spending more time in Albany than her home district. She said the Hempstead-based Assembly district is in “disarray.”
Raynor couldn’t be reached immediately Monday for comment. She previously told News 12 Long Island: “She insinuated that I was a slave. She never mentioned one thing that she’s actually accomplished within the district.”
Her remarks came at a gathering of the New Hempstead Democratic Club, which was there to hear from Raynor, Jacobs said.