According to multiple reports, as well as The Politicker‘s own sources, Assemblywoman Grace Meng has received the support of Queens Democratic Chairman Joe Crowley in her bid for the new 6th Congressional District this evening. Establishment backing is a big boost in low-turnout primaries where little else is on the ballot. Congressman Gary Ackerman was initially expected to run for the seat but suddenly exited the race last week, creating a vacancy for aspiring politicians in eastern Queens.
Assemblyman Rory Lancman, who was running against Mr. Ackerman before bowing out, had already made his plan to campaign for the seat again clear. This evening, he even more directly stated his intentions by tweeting, “Congrats to my friend Grace, looking forward to a spirited campaign on the issues.”
Councilman Mark Weprin, who had been looking strongly at the seat himself, announced his support for Ms. Meng this evening over Twitter.
State Senator Tony Avella previously said he was interested in a campaign, but it’s unclear if he would be willing to move forward without the establishment’s support.
If it is indeed primarily a head-to-head match between Mr. Lancman and Ms. Meng, demographics will play a large role. The district is plurality Asian, but only by the tiniest of margins. In terms of likely voter turnout, older, Jewish voters could easily be a more significant force numerically, although excitement for Ms. Meng’s candidacy could potentially provide a countervailing force.
The district is significantly Democratic, but not overwhelmingly so. Republican sources have pitched Councilman Dan Halloran’s chances in the general election, but there has been no public indication of his intentions to campaign for the seat thus far.