By Steve Mosco
The Queens Democratic Party settled some family business ahead of the coming election season, blocking a city councilwoman’s attempt at retaining her party’s leadership position.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley’s (D-Middle Village) bid for re-election as female district leader of the 38th state Assembly District was halted after party lawyers challenged Crowley’s petitions at the city Board of Elections and got her bounced off the ballot last week.
Now the Queens Democratic Party will search for a new district leader since Crowley was set to run unopposed. One party insider said in the absence of an elected district leader, the party’s county committee will likely appoint someone to the position.
Democratic sources say Crowley’s cousin, U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), chairman of the Queens Democratic Party, and other party loyalists were not pleased with the councilwoman’s bid to challenge Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) in the congressional primary in June.
The Queens machine had endorsed Meng before Crowley even entered the race.
The congressman’s office had no comment.
According to the BOE, Crowley had only 429 valid signatures out of the 500 needed to run for the district leader position. Election lawyer Frank Bolz submitted objections to Crowley’s candidacy to the BOE.
Bolz, a lawyer with Sweeney, Gallo, Reich & Bolz, the same firm employing Michael Reich, the Queens Democrats’ executive secretary, did not return requests for comment.
Crowley finished a distant third place in the 6th Congressional District primary behind Meng.
A spokesman for Elizabeth Crowley said the Democratic leader spot was “a voluntary position” and she remains dedicated to her constituents.
“She [Crowley] is going to focus on her work as a Council member to help her constituents in the community,” said spokesman Eric Yun. “She will be working on issues such as paid sick leave, women’s health and the commuter tax. Elizabeth Crowley is a City Council member and she is committed to that job and helping the district.”
It has been a rough few weeks for Elizabeth Crowley. Last month the councilwoman had her discretionary funds slashed by a committee composed of Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) and 24 of her appointees.
Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4546.