At a birthday fundraiser last night in East Harlem, friends and supporters gathered to toast City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito’s re-election bid for a redrawn district. But for the two-term progressive rabble-rouser, there is far more at stake than keeping her seat.
“We want to see her Speaker!” shouted one supporter as the group crowded around Ms. Viverito at the cozy El Kallejon on East 117th Street to hear her remarks.
grace in the race
As the rain came drizzling down earlier this afternoon, Assemblywoman Grace Meng formally kicked off her Congressional bid surrounded by a small army of Queens Democratic elected officials.
If successful, she will be the first Asian-American Congressional Member elected anywhere on the East Coast of the United States. However, the historic nature of her candidacy went unmentioned today, and was possibly even downplayed slightly as her campaign signs contained only her first name.
Instead, in addition to focusing on traditional Democratic themes like education and labor, Ms. Meng’s announcement event seemed at least partially geared towards the district’s sizable Jewish constituency. One of her two opponents, Assemblyman Rory Lancman, has struck out with an Israel-oriented campaign platform and Ms. Meng clearly isn’t interested in being outflanked on the issue.
Mark Weprin declined to make a campaign for U.S. Congress official this afternoon, telling The Politicker in a phone interview that he indicated to the Queens County Democratic Party “I am looking very strongly at it.”
“Being in Congress is a very important responsibility,” Mr. Weprin, a first term City Councilmember, added. “It is something I have often thought about it. It’s an opportunity that is never going to come again in my lifetime. I would like to believe that I would make a good representative.”
Mr. Weprin’s potential candidacy comes after a head-spinning couple of hours yesterday when Assembly member Rory Lancman announced that he would not seek a seat in Congress currently held by fellow Democrat Gary Ackerman. Then, a few hours later, Mr. Ackerman announced his retirement. Mr. Lancman has since indicated that he intends to campaign for the seat again.
Only hours after Congressman Gary Ackerman indicated he was no longer seeking reelection, possible new candidates have already started showing interest in the Queens district he was previously running in.
In a statement sent out tonight, Assemblywoman Grace Meng, who is the only Asian-American elected official in Albany, made sure to note the new district where Mr. Ackerman was campaigning is plurality Asian and indirectly suggested she would be inclined to run if she received the Democratic establishment’s backing.
“This new congressional district is heavily Asian, and I will be sitting down with our Queens Democratic Organization Chairman, Congressman Joseph Crowley, our community leaders and activists to discuss how the coming months may shape out,” she said, while praising Mr. Ackerman.
meter reader cheater
It’s not the most exciting issue in the world, but for the elected officials who gathered on the steps of City Hall this afternoon, the accuracy of the city’s new water meter readers is a big deal. The City Council Members said they are fielding many complaints from constituents who are struggling to pay suddenly surging water bills since the new meter readers were installed.
“Obviously this is a huge issue for us in Queens County and throughout the city. We’ve had an enormous amount of complaints from people who had the automated meters put in,” Councilman Mark Weprin said. “We kept getting complaints from people who said they had nothing changed in their lives, they used the exact same amount of water over the years. Somehow the new meters were charging them double and sometimes triple … Something’s wrong here.”
Client No. 9
Former Governor Eliot Spitzer lost his job as a CNN host in last July, but apparently he still has money to burn. Since September, Mr. Spitzer has given donations to campaign committees for Councilman Mark Weprin, Michigan Congressman Sander Levin and Texas legislator Joaquin Castro.
Longtime uptown Assembly Denny Farrell told a crowd at a block celebration in Harlem on Sunday that he predicts Inez Dickens will soon hold the speaker’s gavel in the New York City Council.
“Our City Council woman is doing a fantastic job,” Farrell said, while he was flanked by both Dickens and Congressman Charlie Rangel. Read More
It’s unclear when the special election for New York’s Ninth Congressional District will take place, but with each passing day, the list of prospective candidates for the vacant seat seems to grow.
There are a few factors to keep in mind when considering who makes sense for the seat, and who doesn’t.
After a nationally watched campaign in upstate New York, Kathy Hochul made her New York City debut Monday morning at the stately University Club on West 54th Street.Hundreds of guests attending the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Breakfast milled around a breakfast buffet of muffins and fruit salad, while their host, Nora Brenes, introduced Mrs. Hochul as the winner of a special election “that came about as a result of our male New York congress members who keep taking their shirts off,” according to one attendee.
The crowd laughed, because an Anthony Weiner joke at a Democratic political function is one that needs no explanation. He is, much to the chagrin of his New York colleagues, everywhere: overshadowing their message, imperiling a safe congressional seat, and affecting their redistricting plans.
“Anthony has been a great congressman and if he and his wife want to, I think he will ride this out and go back to trying to be a great congressman.”
That was Democratic City Councilman Mark Weprin of Queens, one of the people talked about as a possible successor to the embattled congressman from New York’s 9th district. In an interview, Weprin said it is possible for Weiner to admit to needing help, “disappearing” for a little while and going to rehab, and then emerging as a humbled, self-depreciating, but renewed man.
Weprin said Weiner could “completely” rehabilitate himself in about a year.