The race for the newly created 6th Congressional District in Queens has been hot from the start, but last week things took a weird and wild turn when longtime Queens Democratic Party operative Jeff Gottlieb threw his hat into the ring.
He joins fellow Democrats Assemblywoman Grace Meng, Assemblyman Rory Lancman, and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley in what is now a very crowded primary. Councilman Dan Halloran is (so far!) the only Republican candidate in the race.
Well, Gottlieb's surprise candidacy led to some very vocal accusations by Lancman, who alleged that Gottlieb was a “plant” candidate, put up to run by the Queens Democratic Party in a sinister plot to siphon off Jewish votes from Lancman and help propel their horse in the race – Meng - to a sure victory.
Yes, things have been heating up, indeed.
But then late Monday morning an aspiring newshound who just started a few weeks back and is more than a little wet behind the ears – he's soaking back there! - wandered into our basement offices while looking for the bathrooms, and so we chatted him up for a bit to get a feel for the penny-a-liner.
He showed us some photos he had just taken at an event in front of Flushing High School, and dang if we didn't do a classic spit-take right then and there! There was a photo of Meng, Halloran, and Lancman (in that order, mind you) standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity.
According to the paper's young employ, who wasn't aware of the political tensions bubbling under the surface, all three seemed to be getting along just swimmingly despite the political back and forth, but did say that now that he knew the back story, something Lancman said made a lot more sense.
Apparently, at one point during the press conference, Lancman had a bug crawling up his suit jacket, and Meng reached over and brushed it from his arm.
“Are you debugging me, Grace?” Lancman asked. Then he turned to the crowd and quipped, “See? Politics aside, Grace and I can still work together.”
Oh brother, please don't tell us this is going to turn into some sort of love fest out there on the campaign trail? We need stuff to write about!