3-Way Tussle For McLaughlin's Seat; Meng Out
Athree-way battle for the Democratic nomination for the 25th Assembly District seat in East Flushing is in full swing with a trio of hopefuls scurrying around trying to line up endorsements for the seat being vacated by Assemblymember Brian McLaughlin.
At this point, Flushing attorney Rory Lancman is enjoying a comfortable lead over his opponents, Morshed Alam and John Dorsa, in the endorsement department, having reeled in City Councilmember Tony Avella's sanction last week.
Previously, the 37-year-old attorney, who is the Democratic district leader in Part 3 of the 25th AD, was endorsed by his co-leader, Uma Sengupta, who hails from the Richmond Hill portion of the district. Sengupta, a leader of the South Asian community, was joined by other South Asian leaders in backing Lancman.
In addition, Lancman numbers Congressmember Gregory Meeks and state Senator Malcolm Smith among his supporters as well as numerous labor, civic and community leaders. The major labor group on the list is Local 32 BJ of the powerful building service workers organization.
Alam has one major endorsement thus far, DC 37, the huge 121,000-public-employee union, of which Alam is a member. The Jamaica Estates resident, 48 and a chemist by profession, has been employed for the past 14 years in the city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in a supervisory capacity.
Alam ran for public office just once before, but it was an impressive performance, losing to Republican powerhouse Senator Frank Padavan by a 58 percent-to-42 percent count. Lancman also lost a race to Padavan two years ago.
Dorsa, the third candidate vying for McLaughlin's post, is running for the first time and has yet to land an endorsement. The 31year-old Flushing resident, who is an investment analyst in city Comptroller William Thompson Jr.'s office, comes from a political family. His dad is Queens Supreme Court Justice Joseph P. Dorsa and his mother, Mary Ann, shares the 25th AD Part A district leadership with McLaughlin. John Dorsa is president of the William Jefferson Clinton Democratic organization and a party state committee member.
The county Democratic organization, headed by Thomas Manton, is scheduled to meet in a few weeks to vote to designate its choices as candidates in the September 12 primary. The selections are made by the various district leaders.
It looks like the Lancman-Alam-Dorsa contest will be a close call. Lancman can depend on his own vote and co-leader Sengupta's tally. Dorsa is likely to get his mother's vote, but her co-leader, McLaughlin, hasn't indicated who he will support and will likely go into the caucus as the key swing vote.
MENG PASSES UP RE-ELECTION BID: Assemblymember Jimmy Meng last week made it official that he will not run for a second term. Several weeks ago Meng had said he was considering not seeking a second term because of medical reasons.
At the same time, his daughter, Grace, an attorney who has worked closely with her father as an office holder, said she will seek to run in her father's place and will make a formal announcement shortly.
Meanwhile, Councilmember John Liu, the most powerful pol in Flushing's Asian community, said he would not seek the 22nd AD post being vacated by Meng. In a statement, Liu said the Assemblymember and his daughter had met repeatedly with him to seek his support for Grace Meng as a candidate, but he had not assented.
Instead, Liu stated, "We encourage everyone to run." He also said several other individuals had also sought his support to run in Meng's place, but he did not identify any of them.
Jimmy Meng, just completing his first term, said he suffers from a cervical herniated disc which gives him severe headaches, blurred vision and partial loss of hearing. He did not explain how the condition had come about. He said he was proud to have become the first Asian-American to hold the seat in the ethnically diverse district.
Grace Meng, 31, said in a statement that she had managed her father's successful campaign for the Assembly seat two years ago and since has served as a voluntary district office administrator.
She will make a formal announcement of her candidacy shortly and will then wage "an aggressive campaign" she said. She has been active in the Flushing community in various capacities.
CROWLEY TO MARK 20TH ANNIV: Congressmember Joseph Crowley (D-Queens/Bronx) is approaching his 20th anniversary in public service and will mark the occasion with a gathering of family, political associates and others on Monday, June 5 at Caffe on the Green 201-10 Cross Island Pkwy., in Bayside.
Crowley began his career as an Assemblymember, serving from 1987 to 1998, at which time he ran for the 7th Congressional District seat and won. The district encompasses portions of Queens and The Bronx. In Congress, Crowley has risen to the position of Chief Deputy Whip in the Democratic hierarchy in the House.
In local politics, he serves as a Democratic District leader in the Elmhurst/Maspeth area, with Assemblymember Margaret Markey as his co-leader.
FERRARO ENDORSES CUOMO: In the spirited six-way fight for the Democratic nomination for state attorney general, Andrew Cuomo picked up the endorsement of former Congressmember Geraldine Ferraro.
"He's got the experience and he's run a big agency," Ferraro said about the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton. "He's shown what he can do."
Meanwhile, Mark Green, who's closest to Cuomo in the fierce fight, was endorsed by the Reverend Calvin Butts, a prominent Harlem minister. Green also picked up endorsements from five labor unions with a combined membership of 110,000 workers.
As the Democratic Party state committee meeting to choose the statewide ticket draws near, hopefuls Denise O'Donnell and Charlie King called on Cuomo to join them in urging the state committee to waive party rules and place all six on the primary ballot. At present, it seems only Cuomo and Green will get the 25 percent of the state committee vote to qualify for a spot on the ballot.
Cuomo, who may wind up the only one to get the necessary vote, turned down the plea.
NOLAN FUNDRAISER: Supporters of Assemblymember Catherine Nolan (D-Ridgewood) will gather at Dazies Restaurant, 39-41 Queens Blvd., Sunnyside on Thursday evening, May 18, for a spring fundraiser for the veteran Queens official.