ITHACA, N.Y.—In a Facebook post, Katt Hass announced that he is dropping his bid for the open Second Ward Common Council seat. Hass had initially declared his campaign last week, aiming for the Second Ward spot that is being vacated by current alderperson Seph Murtagh.

In the post, Hass, otherwise known as “Double T” seemed to pin his decision on a hesitation to challenge Phoebe Brown, a longtime community figure and activist who is also running for the Ward 2 seat. Hass had received criticism on social media after announcing his run, largely centered on the feeling that he was potentially stepping in the way of Brown, a Black woman, for a seat that would represent a district that has seen quite a bit of gentrification.

“I have and will always fully support Miss Phoebe in her endeavors,” Hass wrote. “The sunny rays of love we have for each other is stronger than the vitriol that whispers through the grass. May our work—and the work of those around us—set direction for the necessary winds of change.”

Hass also said white supremacist activity on social media, apparently “emboldened” by the aforementioned infighting that Hass’ candidacy caused, was partially to blame for his exit from the race. He said they had targeted Brown specifically.

“Though they publicly and vehemently condemn my existence as a Jewish transgender (assigned female at birth) individual and as an activist, found an opportunity in which they could descend upon an elder Black leader,” he said. “This isn’t just wildly unacceptable; it’s disgusting. It’s disturbing.”

Brown thanked Hass for his decision and kind words.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com