The two Republican candidates running in the June 3 special election to fill Councilman Dennis Gallagher’s seat in Queens have already split the local G.O.P. into a conservative faction and an establishment one. Now there’s a hint that the same thing, albeit to a lesser degree, could happen with the two Democratic candidates.
Last night, both Elizabeth Crowley and Charles Ober were invited to speak to the Stonewall Democratic Club in Manhattan. Only Ober, who is openly gay, showed up, and later earned the club’s endorsement.
Club president Matthew Carlin said via email, "We invited both candidates to speak and seek our endorsement. I was told that Ms. Crowley knew we would be voting last night, but she neither attended the meeting, nor sent her regrets or an advocate. Mr. Ober gave a brief, but impressive, presentation and took a few questions." They endorsed after a short discussion.
But the Queens Democratic establishment is largely uniting behind Crowley, who is related to the Queens County Democratic leader, Representative Joe Crowley.
Stonewall doesn’t exactly have huge sway in a relatively conservative area of Queens, but in a special election, turnout matters. Marty Algaze, a member of the club, said that the endorsement from one of the city’s major gay Democratic clubs would have been a boon to any candidate.
“I would think that that the more support in a special election like this, the better,” said Algaze, who described Ober’s support in the club as “overwhelming.”
UPDATE: Crowley’s campaign manager, Alyson Grant, released this statement: "As a mother, educator, and urban planner, Elizabeth Crowley is clearly the Democrat best capable of winning this pivotal seat back from the Republicans. That’s why she is strongly supported by the Queens County Democratic Party, Congressman Joe Crowley, Congressman Anthony Weiner, Assemblywoman Marge Markey, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, Councilman Eric Gioia, Councilman Joe Addabbo, Ed Koch, and dozens of other elected officials and community leaders.