By Nathan Duke
Several western Queens Democrats went door-to-door to speak to Granite State voters on behalf of U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY). U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) and City Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Sunnyside) were among the borough officials out on the hustings promoting Clinton. Members of the Queens County Republican Party, including staffers from state Sen. Serphin Maltese's (R-Glendale) office, passed out campaign material for former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Clinton scored a surprise win over expected frontrunner U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in the Democratic primary race and former U.S. Sen. John Edwards (D-S.C.) took third. Giuliani placed fourth in the Republican primary, while U.S. Sen. John McCain (D-Ariz.) rebooted his campaign by taking first place. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took second in the GOP race, while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee ranked third.Western Queens elected officials rallied behind Clinton in the days leading up to the primary. Gioia said he drove to Manchester with several busloads of volunteers to hand out fliers and knock on doors for the senator.”Senator Clinton is an outstanding leader with an exceptional record of accomplishment,” said Gioia, who worked as a law clerk to the White House's deputy counsel under former President Bill Clinton. “With her track record and her proven ability to get things done, she will be able to effect enormous changes in Washington.”Crowley said he also canvassed the state to tout Clinton's bid for president.”It's great to be here working for a candidate that I not only respect and admire but also personally know,” he said. “How often does anybody have that opportunity?”A spokeswoman for the Queens County Republican Party said a number of volunteers from the organization also made the trip to New Hampshire for the primary. But none of the borough's three GOP elected officials went.Shaaker Bhuiyan, deputy chief of staff for Maltese, said he and other members of the senator's staff passed out fliers, attended rallies and went door-to-door for Giuliani. Maltese, Queens County Republican Party Chairman Phil Ragusa and state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) are delegates for Giuliani's campaign.”It was the first time I had taken part in a presidential race,” Bhuiyan said. “Polls go up and down all the time, but if you believe in a certain candidate, you can't let it get you down. We in Queens County believe that Rudy Giuliani is a good candidate for us and for the United States of America.”Vincent Tabone, vice chairman of the Queens GOP Party, said more than 30 members of the party traveled to New England to endorse Giuliani.”We've been sending people up to New Hampshire to freeze in the cold even though we know that [the state] is not the be-all, end-all,” he said. “We know Rudy will be in the mix up there even if he does not end up on top there. We're doing everything we can to make sure America's mayor is the next president.”Tabone said he believed Giuliani would fare better in later contests in Florida, New York and New Jersey. In early January, Obama took first place in the Iowa Caucus' Democratic race, while Edwards (D-S.C.) took second and Clinton took third. In the Republican race, Huckabee captured first place, while Romney came in second and former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) took third.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.