New Queens Districts’ Primary Races Heat Up
By DOMENICK RAFTER
|(Left to right): Incumbent U.S. Rep. Ed Towns, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and Councilman Charles Barron are all vying to be the Democratic candidate in the Brooklyn-based 8th Congressional District which now includes parts of Queens.
Even as the 6th Congressional District race takes top billing in Queens, two other races to represent districts that now include Queens are heating up. Two high ranking Congressional members from Brooklyn are facing primary challengers under new lines which will include parts of Queens.
The new 8th Congressional District, centered in Eastern Brooklyn, will now include the neighborhoods of Ozone Park and Howard Beach. There will be a three-way Democratic primary featuring 30-year-incumbent U.S. Rep. Ed Towns (D-Brooklyn) against Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) and Councilman Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn). Jeffries received the support of the Working Families Party and with it, a parade of union support including the Communication Workers of America, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 and the New York State Council of Machinists. He also received the endorsement of the Transit Workers Union of America Local 100.
“Hakeem has always stood in solidarity with the working men and women of labor,” John Samuelsen, president of TWU Local 100, said in a statement. “His recent vote against the Tier VI pension proposal is evidence of his support for working families and the 99 percent. Hakeem is a champion of transit issues.”
Towns, who has faced primary challenges before, has been criticized for being absent on the campaign trail and missed out on Democratic club meetings in politically-important Brooklyn neighborhoods, which ignited rumors that he might retire. Towns’ campaign said they expect he will be “aggressively” campaigning by the end of month.
The district replaces the former 10th Congressional District and, besides the Queens neighborhoods, will also include Mill Basin, Brighton Beach and Coney Island under its new borders.
The new 7th Congressional District, which includes Ridgewood and Woodhaven, will feature a Democratic primary between 20-year incumbent U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn) and City Councilman Erik Martin Dilan (D-Brooklyn). Velazquez, who is the ranking member of the House Small Business Committee, has received the support of the Working Families Party. The district is much the same as the old 12th district Velazquez represented with the addition of Woodhaven and parts of Ozone Park and Richmond Hill. The district also includes Bushwick, Williamsburg, Carroll Gardens and Sunset Park in Brooklyn.
No Republican has filed in either race yet, but both districts are overwhelmingly Democratic and gave President Barack Obama and Gov. Andrew Cuomo over 80 percent of the vote in 2008 and 2010 respectively.
In the new 5th Congressional District in Southeast Queens, incumbent U.S. Rep. Greg Meeks (D-Jamaica) may face a primary against Rosedale-native Michael Scala, a musician who has been petitioning to get on the June ballot, but so far Scala has not received any institutional support. The incumbents in Queens’ other districts; U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria), Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) and Steve Israel (D-Long Island), whose district was redrawn to include parts of Northeast Queens have no announced opponents yet.
The Congressional primary election is June 26th.
Reach Reporter Domenick Rafter at (718) 357-7400 Ext. 125 or email@example.com