John Scandalios, a comic book store owner who pledged to spend no more than $999 on his Assembly run for Grace Meng’s seat in Queens, learned a hard lesson today about Queens Democratic politics.
Meanwhile, Queens Councilwoman Liz Crowley, who was running unopposed for re-election to a district leader post, learned that it’s not wise to cross her powerful cousin, Congressman/Queens Democratic leader Joe Crowley.
Both were thrown off the ballot in their respective campaigns during a hearing this morning at the New York City Board of Elections, where ballot challenges to Queens and Brooklyn candidates are being heard today.
Scandalios, in a heated exchange with the Queens County Democratic Party’s go-to election lawyer Frank Bolz, accused Bolz and the Queens Democrats of “coercion” before Scandlios was thrown off the ballot. Scandlios faced ballot challenges from both the Queens Democrats and rival Assembly candidate Yen Chou, and the Board of Elections found he had less than 300 valid signatures, while 500 were required.
“There must be coercion here,” Scandlios said.
“Be careful when you’re throwing out words like coercion,” Bolz responded, angrily.
Scandalios made the coercion claim in light of the fact that a man named Howard Hicks had signed his petitions at a Queens grocery store — only to turn around and serve as an objector to his petitions as the behest of the Queens Democratic Party.
“He must have been coaxed somehow,” Scandalios said after the hearing.
As of now, the candidates in the race to replace Meng include the Queens Democratic-backed Rom Kim, Martha Flores-Vazquez, Ethel Chen, Yen Chou and Myungsuk Lee.
Scandalios was the only white candidate in the race. He says he will now take his case to court — although, because his pledge to spend no more than $999, he will have to represent himself.
Meanwhile, Councilwoman Liz Crowley, who angered her cousin Joe by running in the four-way NY-6 congressional race in Queens, was found to have only 429 valid signatures, out of the 500 needed. She was challenged by an objector whose election lawyer was Bolz — even though she was running unopposed. The move was clearly retribution for her surprising congressional run against the Queens Democratic-backed Grace Meng.
No one bothered up to argue on Crowley’s behalf at the Board of Elections today. And with no one on the ballot for the district leader slot, it’s possible that Crowley or someone else could still run a write-in campaign for the spot this fall, according to election lawyer Jerry Goldfeder.
The bottom line: Don’t mess with Joe Crowley.
UPDATE: Goldfeder told me a couple weeks ago that a possible write-in campaign could ensue if Crowley was kicked off the ballot. But the deadline for that to occur passed on July 19, Goldfeder noted in an email this evening. The slot will now likely be filled through Queens Democratic Party procedures.
Trackback from your site.