Jeffrey Gottlieb suddenly leaping into the Democratic primary for New York’s 6th Congressional District has politicos abuzz about whether his campaign is designed to take Jewish votes away from one of the candidates, Assemblyman Rory Lancman, in order to benefit the candidate endorsed by the Queens Democratic establishment, Assemblywoman Grace Meng.
Mr. Gottlieb’s candidacy certainly seems bizarre in some respects, including his efforts on behalf of Ms. Meng up until last week, his late entry into the race and his subsequent silence in the media. Embracing this argument, Mr. Lancman went nuclear on what he called the “sham candidacy by a long-time party hack.”
But how do the other candidates in the race feel about Mr. Gottlieb’s entry?
In Assemblyman Rory Lancman’s press release denouncing the entry of Jeffrey Gottlieb into the Democratic field, Mr. Lancman claimed Mr. Gottlieb was previously gathering signatures for Assemblywoman Grace Meng’s now-rival congressional campaign, a fact confirmed to The Politicker earlier this morning by the president of the JFK Democratic club in Queens, Herb Ryan.
However, Mr. Ryan said it was merely because Mr. Gottlieb always heads the club’s signature-gathering efforts on behalf of whatever candidate is endorsed by the Queens Democratic establishment. The Queens Democratic Party endorsed Ms. Meng just before she announced her candidacy a couple weeks ago.
“He takes care of all of the petitions for the JFK Club, and the club supports county,” Mr. Ryan explained. He wasn’t immediately aware of whether Mr. Gottlieb would continue to work on Ms. Meng’s behalf.
Assemblyman Rory Lancman’s campaign issued a lengthy statement this morning criticizing Jeffrey Gottlieb’s late entry in the crowded race for the sixth district as the “sham candidacy by a long-time party hack” designed by the Queens Democratic Party to disrupt Mr. Lancman’s campaign. City & State reported Mr. Gottlieb, who has a patronage position with the local Board of Elections and has been “heavily involved in Jewish causes in Queens” for decades, began circling last minute petitions to enter the District 6 race last week. Grace Meng has the backing of the county party in that race, but Mr. Lancman is hoping the district’s large Jewish population can propel him to a win and believes Mr .Gottlieb’s bid is aimed at undercutting his support in that community.
“The County organization is panicked by the strength of my candidacy,” Mr. Lancman said in his statemebt about Mr. Gottlieb. “Cynically fleecing Jewish voters with a sham candidacy by a longtime party hack is particularly appalling. Voters will rightfully see through this charade, and the party insiders responsible for this hatchet job should be ashamed of their attempt to deny the Jewish community a fair and legitimate election.”