In the Times article rolling out Democratic Assemblyman Rory Lancman’s congressional campaign this morning, Republican Congressman Bob Turner’s campaign seemed to lay out two likely lines of attack against Lancman.
GOP communications consultant Bill O’Reilly, whose work was widely seen as a key factor in Turner’s win last summer against Assemblyman David Weprin, told the Times that Lancman was merely “another clubhouse politician” who, O’Reilly said, was essentially chosen by Queens Democratic power brokers.
That’s a charge that O’Reilly used to great effect against Weprin. And not only is Lancman likely to have the support of Queens Democratic Leader/Congressman Joe Crowley, but he is using the party’s regular consulting firm, the Parkside Group – which also managed Weprin’s campaign.
In a phone interview this morning, I asked Lancman about that line of attack. Lancman’s response was to compare the amount of the legislation he has passed as a member of the Assembly, with the amount Turner has passed as a member of a sharply divided Congress.
“I don’t want to discuss it terms of comparing and contrasting it with David Weprin,” Lancman said. “But my constituents, the people of New York, know that I’m a serious and effective legislator. That I’ve passed 19 laws in my first five years in office. I think I have a reputation of being a serious and effective legislator and not part of any clubhouse – and someone with very good, progressive reform credentials. If that’s the Republicans’ line of attack, I don’t think it’s going to resonate with anyone.”
In some ways, it will likely be harder for the Republicans to peg Lancman as a political insider than is was to peg Weprin. Weprin had run for City Council, comptroller and Assembly not long before his congressional run – and came from a political dynasty. Lancman has only been elected to the Assembly.
In the Times article, O’Reilly also seemed to peg Lancman – who is known as being one of the more politically ambitious members of the Assembly – as overly interested in advancing his own career. O’Reilly told the Times that Lancman was “already running before Bob had a chance to be sworn in, which tells you about Mr. Lancman’s motivations.”
In response to that criticism, Lancman told me that it was his disgust as a resident of Turner’s congressional district – not his own ambition – that had motivated his frequent denunciations of the Republican congressman.
“Bob Turner’s very first vote, in Congress, as my congressman, was to make it easier for companies to outsource jobs overseas,” Lancman said. “I’m willing to comment on what my congressman is doing. And if he’s not representing the district that I live in, and not advocating for the things I want him to advocate for as my congressman, I’m not going to be shy about it. If Bob Turner’s honeymoon is briefer than he had hoped, he has no one to blame for that other than himself and his professed allegiance to John Boehner.”
Unlike Weprin, Lancman actually lives in the congressional district he is seeking to represent.
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