Lancman suggests an anti-Jewish conspiracy in a reported fourth Democratic candidacy for the Ackerman seat
Assemblyman Rory Lancman doesn't fit the classic mold of an outsider.*
But he has nonetheless been flirting with anti-establishment rhetoric entering into a primary to replace retiring congressman Gary Ackerman, and this morning, he seemed to go beyond the point of no return.
At issue was a City and State article, following an initial report by Gary Tilzer, that a Queens Democratic Party operative is helping a fourth candidate, Jeff Gottleib, into the race, possibly with the sole intent of siphoning votes away from Lancman. Lancman's current primary opponents are Assemblywoman Grace Meng, who has the support of the county organization, and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who is the cousin of the county chair.
Gottleib has a history of working for Democrats in Queens and is currently a Queens Democratic Party pick to work at the Board of Elections.
Sending out a statement this morning headlined "Sham Candidacy of Long-Time Party Hack by Queens Democratic Machine," Lancman said, "The County organization is panicked by the strength of my candidacy ... [P]arty insiders responsible for this hatchet job should be ashamed of their attempt to deny the Jewish community a fair and legitimate election."
In addition to being a naked bid for the sizeable Jewish vote in the district, in which Asian-Americans are the single largest ethnic group, the statement represents a new level of hostility. Earlier, Lancman had expressed reservations about talking about other candidates in the race.
Lancman may actually feel that Gottlieb is the second spoiler candidate introduced into the current primary.
David Freedlander at the Observer suggested that Liz Crowley would in fact siphon away white voters from Lancman, thus helping Meng. Crowley doesn't look much like a stalking horse, herself: She hired serious campaign operatives and she would seem to have her own distinct constituency in the southeastern part of the district.
But the enemy of my enemy, or something.
*CORRECTION: I said in the original version that Lancman wasn't necessarily giving up his Assembly seat to run for Congress. In fact, he has said he would.