Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Council Race Grows In Queens

With all the news about Spitzer's prostitution scandal and newly-inaugurated Governor Paterson's affairs, it is understandable that many New Yorkers missed Councilman Dennis Gallagher's resignation after he made a plea deal to escape a trial and jail time over an alleged rape. There are just too many lurid sex (criminal or not) stories going on in the Empire State these days! Well anyways, now that Dennis is gone, the situation presents us with a brand-spanking new special election right across the East River in the 30th Council District.

From The NY Times:

Anyone can run who is a resident of the district — which includes Middle Village, Ridgewood and Glendale — and who collects 2,700 valid signatures from anyone in the district who is registered to vote. And the mayor is required to set a date for the election (with 45 days of the vacancy) within three days after Mr. Gallagher’s resignation takes effect.

But even though the election is nonpartisan, political affiliation, the power behind it, will clearly play a central role in the candidates’ campaigns.

The Democrats are expected to coalesce behind Elizabeth Crowley, in part because her cousin, United States Representative Joseph Crowley, is the Democratic Party chairman of Queens. Ms. Crowley, a developer of educational programs for nonprofit agencies who is also a member of the local chapter of the Building Trades Council.[...]

The Republicans are clearly less harmonious in their consideration regarding Mr. Gallagher’s successor. Philip Ragusa, the party chairman, said the organization will support Anthony Como, a commissioner with the New York City Board of Elections and longtime aide to State Senator Serphin Maltese. Mr. Como, a former assistant district attorney in Queens, ran unsuccessfully for the Assembly in 2005, losing to Andrew Hevesi, the son of former State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi.

But Mr. Como will face stiff competition from Thomas V. Ognibene, who represented the 30th Council District for 10 years, immediately before Mr. Gallagher. In fact, Mr. Gallagher was the chief lieutenant for Mr. Ognibene for many of his 10 years in the Council.

Looks like an interesting race will shape up in these Queens' neighborhoods. It's also an opportunity for the New York Democratic party to shave off one of three remaining Republican-held districts in the city. Currently Dems have 48 out of 51. So if you live in that part of Queens or if you want to see a Democrat replace a Republican, sign-up and help out.