Political races heating up
Mar 06, 2012 | 2848 views | 0 0 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It's shaping up to be a fiery summer in the world of local politics, as this past week saw some action in a few key races important to Queens and Brooklyn.

First, there was political newcomer Tom Allon, who really got out in front of the pack and announced very early his intentions to run for mayor, taking a shot at a potential opponent, embattled city Comptroller John Liu.

In case you've been preoccupied with catching up on Downton Abbey for the past month or so and have been completely ignoring the news,, Liu is waist deep in a fundraising scandal that has now snared his campaign treasurer, Jia "Jenny" Hou.

Hou was charged with orchestrating large donations to Liu's campaign that would exceed those eligible for the city's generous matching funds program by breaking them up into smaller, fictitious donations. She faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted.

Her arrest not only implicates Liu by association, but naturally calls into question his own bid for mayor, which until the recent controversy seemed like a foregone conclusion. Allon, who heads up Manhattan Media, went on the offensive, calling for Liu to resign his current post in light of the scandal in an interview he gave to the Daily News.

Allon is considered a long shot to win, but if his potential opponents keep shooting themselves in the foot, his chances are going to get a lot better.

And then there was State Senator Jose Peralta, who this week registered a new campaign committee - "Peralta 2013" - with the Board of Elections, lending credence to the rumors that had been swirling that he was considering running for the post of Queens borough president next year.

He would join a list of potential candidates that includes Assemblywoman Grace Meng and councilmen Leroy Comrie and Peter Vallone, Jr.

We don't like to get racial here at Pol Position, but in case you didn't notice, that's a Hispanic, an Asian, an African American and an Italian American running for the post in a borough that is essentially one-quarter white, one-quarter Latino, one-quarter black, and one-quarter Asian. Can anyone say "splitting the vote?"

And then there was news from the congressional race between Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and incumbent Congressman Ed Towns. Last week, Jeffries was quoted in City & State newspaper being highly critical of Towns, arguing that he has been ineffective in serving his district.

Later that night, Towns put out a press release - without once mentioning Jeffries by name - stating that he would not go negative in the campaign, but that he understands that his unnamed opponent "is eager to ascend to a higher office and I have no problem with anybody being ambitious, but throwing out unsubstantiated charges is not the way to do it."

Oh, we forgot to mention that outspoken Councilman Charles Barron is also a candidate in the race, so we predict it won't take long before Towns abandons the high road and some serious mudslinging gets underway.

And a few more asides from other possible races...

It looks like Assemblyman Rory Lancman is serious about challenging newly elected Republican Congressman Bob Turner, at least if his Twitter account is to be believed. Last week, in response to the new Congressional district maps, the social media-savvy Lancman tweeted "GOP maps have a clean Lancman v Turner district. We're ready.” So are we!

And Dan O'Connor, who is mounting a challenge to Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, announced that he raised $12,000 in a five-day fundraising push last week. Not bad for a relative unknown in New York City political circles, but he'll have to raise a lot more than that to unseat the long-serving Velazquez.

Stay tuned.

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