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Crowley faces challenge in district leader election

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley's candidacy for Democratic district leader is in jeopardy. Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers

Never go against the family.

U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) is not happy his cousin, City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), challenged state Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) in the Democratic Party primary for the 6th Congressional District, according to several sources familiar with the Queens political scene.

The congressman, who heads the Queens County Democratic machine, is so upset with his cousin’s decision to run in the primary against his party-anointed candidate that he intends to knock her off the ballot for a borough district leader spot, according to political insiders, even though Crowley is running unopposed.

A report in City & State said that since the primary, the Joe Crowley-run Queens Democratic Party has declined to help the councilwoman petition onto the ballot for the district leader spot. Election lawyer Frank Bolz submitted objections against Crowley’s candidacy to the city Board of Elections.

Bolz, a lawyer with Sweeney, Gallo, Reich & Bolz, the same firm employing Michael Reich, the Queens County Democrats’ executive secretary, did not return requests for comment.

The councilwoman finished a distant third place in the primary, in which her cousin put the Queens Democratic Party’s support behind Meng. Joe Crowley did not return requests for comment.

Even with the odds now stacked against her, a spokesman for Crowley expressed optimism the councilwoman would make the ballot.

“Elizabeth Crowley has enough signatures to be on the ballot, and as district leader she is looking forward to advancing Democratic ideals and helping to elect Democrats as she has always done,” said Crowley’s spokesman, Eric Yun.

There was an earlier indication that Crowley’s party was unhappy with her decision to run in the Democratic primary against Meng in June. Earlier this month, the councilwoman saw her discretionary funds slashed by a committee composed of Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) and 24 of her appointees.

Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest), who also opposed Meng in the June primary, withdrew his candidacy for district leader last week, a position he had held since 2002.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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