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rep. jerrold nadler will join fellow west side elected officials and democratic club members in endorsing richard aborn for manhattan district attorney.

in a race where candidates are trying to "out-progressive" one another, an endorsement from nadler, the most liberal member of the city's house delegation, is seen by many as a major stamp of approval for aborn.

aborn is running against leslie crocker snyder, a former judge and 2005 district attorney candidate, and cy vance, jr., retiring district attorney robert morgenthau's handpicked successor.

nadler met with all of the candidates, but he felt that aborn's early advocacy for key progressive issues made him the most qualified candidate in the race. nadler called aborn a true leader on gun control, and praised aborn's push for expanded the use of dna evidence and opposition to the death penalty.

"he's shown an activism on progressive issues that no one else in this race has," nadler said. "we don't have a crystal ball on these things, but you have to believe how he will behave as district attorney is foreshadowed by how he's behaved in the past. and ditto for other candidates."

nadler also noted that aborn has a broader vision for the office, as well as a track record of advancing liberal causes.

"i said to a number of people that i thought cy vance would be a good d.a.," nadler said. "i think that richard aborn would be an outstanding d.a."

given the upper west side's reputation as reliable base of democratic primary voters, nadler's endorsement will most likely help aborn's campaign in a race where many voters are unfamiliar with the candidates.

"the candidates have good pluses and not many negatives. and all are trying to get themselves known," said a west side political strategist who is working on other campaigns but is unaffiliated with the district attorney candidates. "somebody of stature with credibility on progressive issues like nadler has can be a big plus."

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