Smokin' the Peace Pipe
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Congressman Joe Crowley clashed in the backroom contest for City Council speaker. But the latter says it’s all good now.
Mr. Crowley, who chairs the Queens Democratic Party, told reporters this afternoon that he’s not dwelling on the speaker’s contest, where he was outmaneuvered behind the scenes by Mr. de Blasio and now-Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. The race culminated in a unanimous vote for Ms. Mark-Viverito last week.
As the City Council’s growing Progressive Caucus sways the council speaker’s race, insiders are questioning whether their sizable bloc of Queens members will remain loyal to the caucus–or be picked off by their county leaders.
Members of the caucus have pledged to remain unified as they try to crown the city’s second-most powerful leader, even though they have yet to decide which candidate to support. But some wonder whether Queens Democrats–whose bloc vote has made them the most influential force in past speaker’s races–may stand in the way.
When the Queens Democratic Party announced it would be endorsing Councilwoman Tish James in the runoff election for public advocate, the crowd suddenly got much smaller.
exiting stage right
Bill de Blasio’s not ready to overthrow capitalism just yet.
Asked to respond to Republican mayoral rival Joe Lhota’s “Democratic socialist” hit, Mr. de Blasio wasted no time firing back, accusing Mr. Lhota of running a typical right-wing smear campaign.
Councilman Leroy Comrie today announced an end to his bid for Queens borough president, citing “personal matters” as his reason for leaving the race.
“After careful consideration, my family and I believe, due to personal matters, this is the best course of action,” Mr. Comrie said in a statement. “I remain steadfast in my faith and belief in government and it is a true honor to continue to serve the people of Southeast Queens in my capacity as Councilman.”
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.”
Councilman Peter Koo was surrounded by a throng of Queens Democrats and elected officials as he announced his party switch this afternoon, and it would be difficult to imagine a more overwhelmingly effusive crowd.
“We want to give a great Queens Democratic welcome to the newest member of … the City Council from Queens as a Democrat: Councilman Peter Koo,” Queens Democratic Chair Joe Crowley began his statement, to applause of the smiling Democrats surrounding the converted Councilman.
“Peter joining this effort is a real boom to our party, and I think it’s great for Flushing in particular. As John Liu, whom I’m going to introduce in a moment, points out, this is the Year of the Dragon. This is a very fortuitous year. This is a very important, jubilant year for the Chinese-American community. Peter, you’re making it that much more jubilant for us.”