When the Queens Democratic Party rolled out its endorsements this morning in Forest Hills, one notable demographic, African Americans, was left without a major candidate. Indeed, Queens’ black political establishment looked on with disappointment as their favored candidates for mayor, borough president and public advocate were passed over for rivals.
Congressman Joe Crowley, the party chair, endorsed Council Speaker Christine Quinn for mayor and former Councilwoman Melinda Katz for borough president. While a vast majority of district leaders voiced their approval, Elmer Blackburne and several other black district leaders dissented, indicating that instead they would support Bill Thompson, the former comptroller, who is also black. Ms. Quinn and Ms. Katz are white.
king of queens
The Queens County Democratic Party is expected to endorse Councilman Leroy Comrie for borough president next week, according to four sources plugged into various sides of the race.
The sources–some of whom were disappointed in the decision–told Politicker that Congressman Joe Crowley, the head of the borough’s Democratic organization, will probably endorse Mr. Comrie to balance his leadership position in one of the most demographically diverse counties in the country.
Earlier this evening, outspoken Councilman Peter Vallone officially launched his campaign for campaign for Queens Borough President. And, standing before an incredibly packed Greek restaurant in Astoria, both Mr. Vallone and his supporters made sure everyone was fully aware of the self-described conservative Democrat’s independent streak.
“He was able to stand up to the Speaker when she was trying to bully him,” said Norman Seabrook, the President of the New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association who officially endorsed Mr. Vallone today. “Can you imagine what he would do as borough president when given the opportunity to step forward, not only for the people in this room, but this borough? He is truly a man indicative of being able to become one of the greatest of all time.”
O Say Can You Hear?
Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert was the surprise guest this morning at the House Democratic retreat and his appearance included quips about his sister’s House bid in North Carolina and a “dramatic” duet of the Star Spangled Banner with Queens Congressman Joe Crowley. Sadly, Mr. Crowley’s office told us they don’t have video footage of the comedian and congressman performing, but Mr. Crowley did offer up a complimentary appraisal of his partner’s performance.
“All I can say is Stephen Colbert can be my back-up singer anytime,” he said.
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In a few months, Queens County’s elected officials are gathering for a musical talent show of sorts. In a flier sent out to the borough’s legislators, the show, a fundraiser for Queens College, is “seeking elected officials who can sing, act, dance, do comedy and are willing to share their talents in a musical comedy revue which celebrates our wonderful borough.”
According to a source, two of the borough’s most musical officials, Democratic Congressman Joe Crowley and GOP Councilman Dan Halloran, both seemed likely to attend. Mr. Crowley, of course, is a well-known music lover, from “Call Me Maybe” to little ditties in his fundraising solicitations. For his part, Mr. Halloran is a fairly talented alternative rock singer, as he thoroughly demonstrated at one of his own fundraisers.
king of queens
Former Councilwoman Melinda Katz is kicking off her campaign to replace term-limited Borough President Helen Marshall at Portofino Ristorante in Forest Hills tonight. Joining her will be none other than the man who leads the Queens Democratic Party, Congressman Joe Crowley. However, his presence at her party doesn’t necessarily imply Mr. Crowley is backing Ms. Katz in the crowded field.
Indeed, a reader passes along a kickoff event invitation for State Senator José Peralta’s campaign for Ms. Marshall’s job as well, which Mr. Crowley is also attending.
Call Me Crowley
This morning, Queens Congressman Joe Crowley was caught by the Today Show cameras enjoying a live performance of Canadian pop songstress Carly Rae Jepsen’s megahit “Call Me Maybe.” According to Courtney Gidner, a spokeswoman for Mr. Crowley, the congressman was in attendance at the concert, which was part of the Today show’s summer concert series, with his three children, who are all under the age of 13. The group arrived “bright and early” so they would be able to get a good view.
“He brought his kids, his kids are big fans of Carly Rae Jepsen, and so he brought them to the concert this morning,” Ms. Gidner told Politicker. “So, I think he might win father of the year for bringing his kids to that concert.”
We pointed out to Ms. Gidner that, based on the footage, it appears Mr. Crowley is also a big fan of Ms. Jepsen in his own right. Ms. Gidner conceded that the congressman did indeed enjoy the singer’s performance.
In the packed Plum Restaurant in the Bayside neighborhood of Queens, Assemblywoman Grace Meng entered the room to the Black Eye Peas’ “Let’s get it started in here” (Let’s get into it! Yeah! Get stupid! Come on!) just after ten o’clock and was simply a rock star. Ms. Meng is beloved in Queens Democratic circles and those circles certainly turned out for her clamorous and joyous victory party. Declaring her congressional campaign’s success before the Associated Press did, she spent most of her speech thanking all of her volunteers, family members, supporters, opponents, and probably a few others tossed in there as well.
“It has been about we, certainly not me,” Ms. Meng said to begin her speech. “We. We, in this room. We in the neighborhoods won this important race. We won this victory together.”
And win the race she did, surprising expectations and securing an outright majority of the vote, a tough act considering her multiple credible primary opponents with strong labor support and electoral bases. And while Ms. Meng received very strong support in her own base in Flushing’s sizable Asian community, supporters and elected officials also constantly pointed to her impressively strong performance in other areas as well, a tribute to the forces that mobilized behind her candidacy.
In a fundraising solicitation for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee yesterday evening, Rep. Joe Crowley opened the request by declaring, “Every New Yorker should know about this.”
What does every New Yorker need to know about? Why it’s a Wall Street Journal report of former Governor George Pataki opening up a Super PAC to impact New York’s Congressional races.
Congressman Joe Crowley is running for reelection in a highly Democratic district without any announced opposition, but he’s not slouching off on his fundraising.
According to his recently filed campaign finance report, he raised $553,729 in the first three months of this year, leaving him with an impressive $1.1 million cash on hand. This is more than candidates running in actually competitive races typically raise.