Doctor In The House
Dr. Robert Mittman, the controversial underdog Queens congressional candidate, released a campaign video on YouTube yesterday. So far, only 13 people have watched the clip, which includes footage of Dr. Mittman reading the statement he made when he first announced his campaign interspersed with photos of him and his family, the good doctor at work treating patients and pictures of New York and Washington landmarks all set to the tune of Billy Joel’s 1989 hit “We Didn’t Start The Fire.”
“As a lifelong Queens resident, a parent, a voter and a medical doctor, I am here to offer a precsription for a healthy economy,” Dr. Mittman says in the video.
Yesterday, most of New York’s delegation in the House of Representatives backed a measure that would have rebuked the New York Police Department for their Muslim surveillance program by blocking federal spending on police programs that violate the Constitution.
The measure brought howls of protest from conservatives and from Long Island Rep. Peter King, and it ultimately went down to defeat.
This morning, Liz Crowley, a City Councilwoman from Queens who is running for the Congressional seat formerly held by Gary Ackerman sent out a statement saying that she opposed her would-be Democratic colleagues’ efforts.
“Withholding federal funding from our police department because our cops have done their jobs is wrong,” Ms. Crowley said. “The NYPD has acted lawfully to protect New Yorkers from very real terrorist threats. Voting for this measure frustrates the NYPD’s efforts to keep us safe. We need to work on expanding funding for the NYPD in a dangerous world, not cutting it off.”
Although Assemblyman Rory Lancman, a candidate for an open Queens congressional seat, has been gobbling up the biggest labor players like the Working Families Party and the RWDSU, one of his opponents in the Democratic primary, Councilwoman Liz Crowley, continued her streak of smaller union endorsements this morning with the Mason Tenders District Council.
“Elizabeth Crowley has fought for workers’ rights throughout her entire career,” the Mason Tenders’ political director, Mike McGuire, said in a statement announcing the support. “She understands that people deserve safe workplaces, fair wages, and a secure retirement. Elizabeth Crowley is the best candidate to represent workers and strengthen our neighborhoods.”
Rory Lancman insists he isn’t desperate to get out of Albany.
“It is not a miserable place,” he said last week over an afternoon glass of sauvignon blanc at the bar in the Fitzpatrick Hotel on Lexington Avenue. By New York State Legislature standards, where careers are measured in geologic time, Mr. Lancman is barely amphibious, having won his seat in the State Assembly only in 2006.
“But it is a place where at some point one’s desire for greater responsibility is stymied by a rigid seniority system and a culture that doesn’t really support that kind of institutional ambition.”
“I don’t want out,” he added. “I want up.”
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?
The Captains Endowment Association, which represents the NYPD’s Captains, Deputy Inspectors, Inspectors, and Deputy Chiefs, endorsed Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley in the crowded race for the 6th Congressional District.
“Throughout her career, Elizabeth Crowley has fought to protect the public safety of New Yorkers,” CEA President Roy Richter said. “She has been a great supporter of the NYPD and is the best candidate to ensure that police officers in New York and around the country receive the support and resources we need from Washington to keep our City safe.”
Assemblywoman Grace Meng’s congressional campaign has been endorsed by almost every elected official in Queens outside of the State Assembly, and today, her campaign announced a couple more endorsements and re-announced others to demonstrate her backing in the Latino community.
The focus on the Latino voters is interesting, as much of the discussion of the demographics of the congressional race thus far has been on the district’s substantial Asian-American and Jewish communities. However, there is still a notable Latino presence of about 18% of the district’s population (the percentage among likely voters is sure to be less).
Attached to a press release announcing Assemblywoman Grace Meng’s fundraising yesterday was a long list of current and former Queens elected officials who have endorsed her congressional campaign, and it’s not a short one. It hardly comes as a surprise though, many of those same officials surrounded Ms. Meng when she announced for Congress last month.
As far as can be determined, the only Democratic officials in Queens to get behind one of the other two candidates competing against Ms. Meng in the primary, Assemblyman Rory Lancman and Councilwoman Liz Crowley, have been Mr. Lancman and Ms. Crowley themselves.
The New York State Independence Party broke off its recent string of endorsing Republican congressional challengers to endorse Democratic Assemblywoman Grace Meng this afternoon.
The news, first reported by City & State, was confirmed in a subsequent statement sent out from her campaign. Although City & State suggested it might be Congressman Joe Crowley’s relationship with the Independence Party that triggered the endorsement, the organization itself cited Ms. Meng’s passion and and political positions.
Assemblywoman Grace Meng’s congressional campaign promised “astonishing” fundraising numbers yesterday, and indeed they put up a very solid $300,000 raised in just ten days.
The amount almost surely places her campaign finances above both of her primary opponents, Assemblyman Rory Lancman and Councilwoman Liz Crowley.