2009-07-08 / Political Page

Rangel: Maloney Should Have Chance To Challenge Gillibrand

Congressmember Carolyn Maloney got a major boost in her nascent challenge to U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in next year's Democratic primary when fellow Congressmember Charles Rangel said, in effect, that President Barack Obama had no business trying to keep any would-be Gillibrand challengers out of the primary.

"I really don't understand why President Obama got involved in our primary," Rangel, dean of the New York congressional delegation, said in a Daily News story.

Taking a further slap at the president's political smarts, Rangel added: "I don't want to use the word 'wrong', but it doesn't seem like the astute political thing to do."

Maloney also got a boost in her campaign as former President Bill Clinton reportedly agreed to headline a fundraiser for the Queens/Manhattan lawmaker on July 20.

However, Clinton's action could not be considered as serious a rebuke to the president as Rangel's because Clinton had already demonstrated neutrality in the race by attending a Gillibrand fundraiser earlier this year.

Meanwhile, along with the excitement raised by Rangel and Clinton on Maloney's behalf, the lawmaker, a veteran of 16 years in Congress, came close to finally putting herself in the race officially, according to a statement released to the media by Paul Blank, who will serve as a senior advisor to Maloney's Senate campaign.

"Congresswoman Maloney is putting together a campaign team and will make her announcement in two weeks." "Congresswoman Maloney is putting together a campaign team and will make her announcement in two weeks." "Congresswoman Maloney has made her decision," Blank's statement said. "She believes times are too tough and our challenges too important for politics as usual. New Yorkers need a strong, experienced and independent leader who will never waiver and can always be counted on to stand up to powerful interests and fight for the values and principles we believe in.

"Congresswoman Maloney is putting together a campaign team and will make her announcement in two weeks."

Maloney showed her determination to run last week by rejecting a strong plea from Gillibrand's supporters to drop out of the primary next year.

A newly formed coalition of Democrats, calling themselves United for New York, issued a plea to Maloney imploring her "not to pursue a divisive primary fight which forces voters to choose between two tremendously capable, hard-working women".

The plea continued: "At best, this would leave at least one of you without a job, and could ultimately result in giving the seat back to the Republicans."

Blank replied: "We believe, just like the primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton proved, that giving voters a chance and having a spirited debate on the issues and records strengthens our party and will benefit New Yorkers. What's divisive about that?"

A new Marist Poll shows the candidates in a virtual tie presently, indicating the race between them could be very close. With the head start Gillibrand got since being appointed by Governor David Paterson to replace Hillary Clinton, she has locked up endorsements from many officials, women's groups and labor unions and has the support of President Obama. However, the poll shows the combatants in a near dead heat.

GOP: 'INVESTIGATE CARROZZA'S LEGAL RESIDENCE': Picking up on the New York Daily News stories that Assemblymember Ann Margaret Carrozza may possibly be violating state legal residency requirements by living outside her Bayside district boundaries, Queens Republican Leader Phil Ragusa wants the Queens district attorney, the state attorney general and the state Board of Ethics to investigate her legal (primary) residence at this time.

Ragusa said, the residents of the 26th Assembly District must be protected from "being defrauded [by not] having a full-time Assembly representative".

Acknowledging that courts have historically been rather flexible in their interpretation of what constitutes a primary residence when office holders own or rent multiple residences, GOP officials note, "By Carrozza's own public statements she no longer maintains a residence by legal standards."

According to Daily News stories, Carrozza has given various explanations regarding where she lives presently. Among these is that her primary residence is in Bayside. 'We're temporarily renting that out," she was quoted. She and her family are living instead in Glen Head on Long Island. The Daily News also alleges that on mortgage documents, Carrozza and her husband attested that the Glen Head manse was their primary residence.

Queens Republican Executive Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone, an attorney and election law expert, weighing in on the controversy, stated "The Election Law does not preclude a person from having two residences and choosing one for election purposes provided he or she has 'legitimate, significant and continuing attachments' to that residence, as per Isabella v. Hotaling."

But, Tabone added, "The crucial determination of whether a particular residence complies with the requirements of the Election Law is that the individual must manifest an intent, coupled with physical presence 'without any aura of sham', as per People v. Ohara."

The Queens Republicans then note in the release that there are other more serious possibilities arising out of the Carrozza case.

ENDORSEMENTS: Borough President Helen Marshall, who is running for a third term in November, has been endorsed for re-election by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). The group, known as NARAL Pro-Choice America, cited Marshall's "dedication to and support of reproductive rights issues" in choosing to support her.

Marshall, a lifelong Democrat and choice advocate, said in response, "I have always been a tireless defender of women's rights. As the only female boroughwide office holder in New York City, and being the only female candidate in the race, I understand the importance of protecting a women's right to choose. I honor NARAL's commitment to freedom and privacy."

IANNECE ENDORSED: Bayside community activist Jerry Iannece, who is expected to face Paul Vallone in the Democratic primary for the 19th City Council District seat, has been endorsed by the 23,000-member United Food and Commercial Workers Union- Local 1500.

$500,000 FOR CHURCH RESTORATION: Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley (D- Glendale) has secured $500,000 in the 2010 capital budget "to reassemble, restore and transform" St. Saviour's Church in Maspeth or Middle Village. The church, constructed in 1847 in Maspeth, was saved from demolition in 2008, dismantled at its former site in Maspeth and put into storage.

Robert Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, commended Borough President Helen Marshall and Crowley for securing the funds and supporting the reconstruction of "the last remaining landmark in Middle Village or Maspeth".

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