The Queens County Democratic Organization is set to endorse John Liu—one of three candidates from the borough running for comptroller—according to a knowledgeable source not associated with Liu’s campaign.
This person said the organization was making calls last night to district leaders, informing them about how it intends the vote to go in this morning's meeting, when members will vote to endorse in this race and others.
The endorsement is coveted because Queens is thought to have the most reliable political machine in the city, able to turn out lots of volunteers and voters for its candidates.
This is, for Liu, in many ways a coup. He entered the race late, and to the chagrin of the party establishment, which already had to choose between two candidates from the borough: David Weprin, chair of the City Council Finance Committee, and Melinda Katz, chair of the City Council Land Use Committee. Liu’s candidacy, which has made great efforts to build an ethnically diverse coalition, complicated matters for Queens Democrats, who have done a pretty good job of handling drastic demographic changes in the borough. In some races, they’ve supported candidates from emerging communities, while protecting older white incumbents in others.
In the comptroller race, both Katz and Weprin made strong pitches before Liu somewhat unexpectedly jumped in.
Weprin, for one, has strong ties to the party organization. His father is the former speaker of the Assembly, and his brother Mark, currently an assemblyman, is now running for his Council seat. Weprin's eight years as chair of the finance committee would have made him an easy choice for the party. Katz would have been a less obvious choice, but she's still a strong candidate, particularly as the only woman in the race.
UPDATE: Katz's campaign sent over this statement in response to the expected endorsement of Liu, promising she'll challenge the "the old boys club."
"I am in this race to build on my career of fighting for middle-class families and improving the lives of working New Yorkers. That's why I am running for Comptroller. The interests of the working men and women I fight for each day are not well-served by machine politics. My only hope this morning was that the Queens Party would support a candidate who was committed to one office and to the Democratic values that matter to the residents of this great county — not simply perpetuate the old boys club that I will continue to challenge.
"My experience as a legislator both at the State and City level–securing better health care, protecting the vulnerable, creating jobs and affordable housing–demonstrates an unparalleled record of fighting for those Democratic values. I look forward to working with the most diverse coalition of supporters in the city and the backing of the Bronx Democratic Party–an energetic, progressive organization in touch with the needs of its citizens–to becoming the City’s 43rd Comptroller."