On the steps of Borough Hall Monday, party leaders announced that Queens Democrats would officially be supporting in the upcoming mayoral race...wait for it...Bill de Blasio!
We're not really sure whey the party had to throw a big event on Monday afternoon to announce that they would be supporting the only Democrat left in the race, but hey, better late than never, right?
Actually, the party did endorse a candidate in the Democratic Primary, but it wasn't Bill de Blasio. Rather, they backed one of his fiercest competitors in the race, Speaker Christine Quinn. Nonetheless, we're sure that de Blasio is grateful to officially have the support of the party, even if technically it's more or less by default.
But it wasn't just de Blasio that the Queens Democratic Party was flip-flopping on, but in this case the endorsement matters a little bit more.
The same time party leaders and prominent Queens Democrats were announcing they were backing de Blasio, they also threw their support behind Councilwoman Tish James, who is facing a runoff election against fellow Democrat, State Senator Daniel Squadron, on October 1 to decide who will be the Democratic nominee for public advocate in the November general election.
James narrowly edged Squadron in the primary, but didn't get the 40 percent of the popular vote needed to avoid the runoff election, which incidentally is costing the taxpayers about $13 million to hold to decide who might eventually be elected to head an office with an annual budget of about $2 million. What a bargain!
Much like de Blasio, James wasn't the first choice of the Queens Democratic Party. No, they first endorsed Reshma Saujani, who ended up finishing last in the four-way race. Let's see if the party can get on board with a winner the second time around.
They did get one endorsement right, though, and on Monday Queens Democrats reiterated their support for Melinda Katz for borough president. Katz defeated Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. in the primary.
One wonders, however, how the race might have turned out if the crowded field – at one point there were about six or seven highly qualified candidates running – hadn't thinned out so dramatically to eventually become a two-way race. (Although, technically, State Senator Tony Avella dropped out of the race so late that his name was still on the ballot and there were still some hardcore Avella supporters who voted for him.)
It's widely speculated that many of those candidates chose to exit the race after the Katz endorsement in the interest of party unity, so we guess in that sense the support of the county still matters, even if it doesn't always resonate with your average voter.