Only hours after Congressman Gary Ackerman indicated he was no longer seeking reelection, possible new candidates have already started showing interest in the Queens district he was previously running in.
In a statement sent out tonight, Assemblywoman Grace Meng, who is the only Asian-American elected official in Albany, made sure to note the new district where Mr. Ackerman was campaigning is plurality Asian and indirectly suggested she would be inclined to run if she received the Democratic establishment’s backing.
“This new congressional district is heavily Asian, and I will be sitting down with our Queens Democratic Organization Chairman, Congressman Joseph Crowley, our community leaders and activists to discuss how the coming months may shape out,” she said, while praising Mr. Ackerman.
Meanwhile, State Senator Tony Avella, who was drawn into the same district with Senator Toby Stavisky and could possibly use an escape hatch to avoid a competitive primary, directly told City & State he was interested in the seat and aspired to be a Congressman.
“I’m honored that people are considering me, and I have always wanted to go to Congress,” he said to the publication. “It would be a dream come true.”
Assemblyman Rory Lancman, who exited the race today, was previously thought to be so interested in a Congressional campaign he was willing to challenge Mr. Ackerman in the Democratic primary, is undoubtedly contemplating jumping back in as well. His statement today even said he “would be seeking opportunities to assume greater public responsibilities in the near future.”
Other names thrown around by politicos musing haphazardly on the topic to The Politicker include Councilman Mark Weprin, Assemblyman and former Congressional candidate David Weprin, Councilwoman Liz Crowley, and on down the list of elected officials throughout the district.
All of the above candidates are Democratic, and a Republican would have an uphill battle for the seat, which gave Barack Obama 63% of the vote in his 2008 Presidential campaign. Nevertheless, it could be winnable under the right circumstances with the right candidate, and City & State reported GOP Councilman Dan Halloran is indeed interested.
Regardless of the eventual candidates, the entire sudden situation seems rather bizarre. Mr. Ackerman had personally reached out to The Politicker Tuesday night, out of the blue, to make a specific and detailed case for why he was the perfect candidate for the district he just declined to run in today.