Crowley Takes Queens Helm

Rep. Joseph Crowley was unanamously elected the new Democratic county leader of Queens at 8:30 this morning, even securing a vote from City Councilman Hiram Monserrate, Crowley called to say.

As I noted before, the real story here isn’t the continuation of the city’s most effective political machine, which was built under Crowley’s predecessor and mentor Tom Manton. It’s the fact that the position went to Crowley, a federal official who has to operate under strict federal fundraising guidelines known as the McCain-Feingold law.

The law prohibits federal office holders from raising and spending soft money, which comes from sources not regulated by federal guidelines. Money from local clubs, which are a major source of county fundraising, is soft. Meaning that Queens is going to have to draw its influence in future from patronage, not money.

Also worth noting are the political deals and problems Crowley inherrited from his mentor. Nearly the entire Queens City Council delegation is term-limited in 2009, leaving many of them to run for a handful of offices. Who the county backs or gets kicked off the ballot could determine which officials in Queens has under the new Queens regime.

– Azi Paybarah