After we wrote about him in our humble rag, he reached out to confirm that he was indeed serious about challenging Congressman Joseph Crowley in the Democratic Primary this year. Here's what he wrote to us:
“Hi, I do indeed intend to run against Joe Crowley next year in the Democratic primary! I'm a former Chair of CB2 and have lived in the neighborhood my entire life. I'd be happy to 'habla' with you and thanks for the publicity.”
Dillon challenged Crowley once before in 1998. He ran as a Republican because that was the year former congressman Thomas Manton timed his retirement in such a way that would ensure that Crowley, his handpicked successor, would be the only Democrat on the ballot.
So serious was Dillon about getting votes this time around that he opened a campaign office in the Netherlands to reach registered expats, of which there were about 700 living in the Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland, according to Dillon. Now that's voter outreach!
But enter Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, a Bronx and Westchester native who also decided to enter the Democratic Primary in the 14th Congressional District. As the race got more crowded, Dillon decided to bow out.
However, not for the reasons you might expect.
Dillon wasn't concerned that Ocasio-Cortez would take votes away from him, but that Dillon himself would take votes away from Crowley, who then might lose his seat, which we thought was the whole reason that Dillon was running against him in the first place.
In Dillon's logic, as a native Sunnysider he didn't want to run the risk of handing Crowley's post to some well-financed carpetbagger from Yorktown Heights instead of keeping it in the control of a man who grew up on the gritty street of Western Queens. (That's Crowley, by the way.)
So, naturally we thought that was the last we would be hearing from James Dillon. Until it wasn't.
We received an email from Dillon recently stating that he had accepted the Reform Party line in the 7th Congressional District, where he will now be challenging 26-year incumbent Nydia Velazquez in the General Election.
The district includes parts of Queens, Brooklyn and the Lower East Side, which Dillon says is his favorite neighborhood in the city outside of Long Island City/Sunnyside. Here's a bit of his latest missive:
“My connections with the LES go back 40 years: I used to box at a famous gym on 14th Street right next to the now shuttered Luchow's restaurant, I took graduate courses in Public Administration at NYU, and I spend much of my leisure time there at the art galleries, coffee shops and hotels.”
Good enough for us!
Dillon says his platform won't change much now that he is running the 7th CD. As he put it, “if I was against Joe Crowley's 20 years in Congress, you can imagine how I feel about Velazquez serving 26 years!”
So, now we will be following Dillon's new campaign. And we'll give you an update on that overseas campaign office as soon as we receive one, as well as if there will be a new location. We're not exactly sure where the expats from the 7th CD like to spend their time outside the country.