By William Lewis
Recently, Rob Astorino, the Republican and Conservative candidate for governor, spoke at the Frank Kenna Republican Club in Astoria. He seems to be conducting an intense grassroots campaign by speaking at Republican clubs, especially here in Queens.
In past gubernatorial campaigns, we have seen candidates mostly addressing political party county dinners and various county and state fund-raising events.
Political club functions, however, have not been done to the extent that Astorino has been attending them. This type of campaigning seems to be going over well. For example, at the Queens Village Republican Club several weeks ago, more than 100 guests came to hear Astorino. It was an enthusiastic crowd.
At the Frank Kenna club, the political enthusiasm continued to prevail, although Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been way ahead in the polls and fund-raising. Nevertheless, Astorino scored an upset victory for the office of Westchester County executive several years ago against an opponent who was during most of the campaign far ahead of him in the polls and fund-raising.
Some political observers think it could happen again, but it can be said that it is much more difficult to defeat an incumbent governor than a county executive candidate.
There is growing controversy regarding the governor’s action toward the investigation of the Moreland Commission. By first creating the committee and then abolishing it, questions have been raised that reflect on the campaign itself. This situation has convinced some that the governor’s race this year may be in doubt as to the winning candidate.
Both party office holders and those running to gain office are interested in how their party candidate for governor does since he is at the head of the ticket and will influence the rest of the slate throughout the state.
In the weeks and months ahead, the governor’s battle will indicate through the polls and fund-raising how the campaign is going.
In the 15th state Senate District in western Queens, Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) is running for re-election against Republican-Conservative Michael Conigliaro, who runs a law firm. Addabbo is known for being a strong campaigner with considerable grassroots support. We will see how the campaign unfolds as it becomes more active.
Attorney Grant Lally, after a narrow Republican primary victory, intends to wage an all-out fight against U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Melville), who has been considerably successful in his fund-raising efforts. The 3rd Congressional District being contested runs through three counties, including Nassau and Suffolk with northeast Queens contributing 10 percent of the land area to the district.
As we look at the political campaigns for next year in Queens, there are few elections for office except district attorney and a few judgeships.
In the Queens Republican Party, there will be 36 party district leaderships up for election, since there are 18 state Assembly districts with two district leaders from each district.
Next year in September, the political county convention will be held to elect the Republican county chairman in addition to other county officials. It will be the elected county committee that will choose county leaders.
Queens Democrats are having their county convention this year. If there is a battle for leadership control of the Republican county organization, we may see a significant number of primaries between the organization and the insurgents.
Will 2015 be a year in which the Republican Party continues a prolonged civil war, or will it be a year of peace and cooperation between opposing groups? We will find out soon.