By Mark Hallum
Since winning a Wilson Pakula certificate to run on the Republican line last week in the race against City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), Bob Holden has in turn lost the support of state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) in the November general election.
A Queens County Republican Party meeting Sept. 27 not only saw ouster of U.S. Rep. Bob Turner as chairman, who was replaced by district leader Joann Ariola, but also may have solidified Holden’s ties to the conservative side of the aisle with Avella abandoning his endorsement.
“I supported Bob in the Democratic primary, but I cannot support a Republican candidate,” Avella said.
Holden was reluctant to comment since he had not yet been informed by Avella about losing his backing, but said he had always rejected party politics as he had hoped to represent residents of his community regardless of political affiliation.
Holden, who was backed by the Queens Republicans at the meeting, did not see his nomination by the GOP as a step away from the Democratic Party, which he has claimed to be a member of for 44 years.
“They offered me their party line and I accepted their nomination and I thanked them and I thanked Bob Turner for his years of service,” Holden said following GOP summit. “They know me and it shows they know I’m popular in my community. I told them I remain a Democrat. There were no negotiations and no strings attached. I won’t march in lockstep under the Republican banner. I don’t wear political labels anyway. I’m a community guy.”
Holden ran against Crowley as a Democrat in September’s primary elections, and his rival was thick with accusations pertaining to Holden’s close ties to the Republican Party. Crowley played on Holden’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the Queens Village Republican Club earlier this year and raised doubts about his true allegiance to Democrats.
But leading up to the election, Holden maintained in an interview with TimesLedger staff that he could work with anyone from any political party because he identified more as a “civic guy” than anything.
Crowley referred to Holden’s nomination as a “bait and switch” tactic, which she believed proved he was never out to defend the Democratic agenda.
Holden was already facing Crowley in the general election on the Reform Party ticket.
Holden is the president of the Juniper Park Civic Association and rose in prominence as an organizer of the Maspeth Holiday Inn homeless shelter protests.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall