One candidate says unequivocally yes!
The already crowded Democratic primary to choose a nominee to run for the state's newest congressional district just added another face: Jeff Gottlieb, a well-connected Queens political insider.
He joins the race with Assembly members Rory Lancman and Grace Meng and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley. The winner of the June primary will face the Republican candidate, Councilman Dan Halloran.
But after Gottleib announced his candidacy, Lancman immediately cried foul, accusing the Queens County Democratic Party of pushing Gottlieb, who Lancman called a “party hack” with a “county patronage employee with the Board of Elections,” stating that Gottlieb's sole reason for entering the race was to siphon votes from Lancman and “confuse Jewish voters.”
Whoa, slow down there with the accusations there Rory! Would the Queens County Democratic Party really do something so devious just to insure that their preferred horse in the race – Meng – would be assured victory?
Well, we guess they might.
Lancman's bases his claims on some pretty flimsy facts, namely that Gottleib has not opened an FEC (Federal Elections Commission) account (all in due time), does not have a website (maybe he's computer illiterate), does not have any endorsements (give him time, he just entered the race a couple of days ago!), is not a sitting public official (hey, we can't all be), just started collecting signatures (is procrastination a crime?) and until last week was petitioning for Meng (okay, that last one has actually been confirmed).
Well, we suppose that is a pretty damning characterization of Gottleib's campaign by Lancman. Doesn't exactly seem like he's going all out to win the seat.
We wonder if Lancman, a card-carrying member of the Queens Democratic party (we assume they have cards anyway) knew what he was getting into when he decided to buck party officials and run despite the Democratic Party choosing to back Meng.
At the very least, Lancman isn't afraid to go on the attack. Check out this inflammatory quote from his statement:
"The County organization is panicked by the strength of my candidacy,” Lancman said, “but 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.”
We're not really sure how another Jewish candidate deprives the Jewish community of a “fair and legitimate election” - Jewish voters will still get to go to the polls and vote for whomever they choose, and maybe they won't vote for either Lancman or Gottlieb.
But then again, we' re not sure of much when it comes to New York City politics these days, except for one thing: this it going to be a dogfight until the very end. And this is just the primary, we've still got a general election to look forward to.
But before the muckraking and mudslinging really gets underway, we thought we would run this photo from our archives of Lancman and Meng, who represent neighboring Assembly districts, in happier, cooperative times.