Two candidates in the race for the redrawn congressional seat centered around Flushing picked up endorsements from prominent figures in city politics Tuesday.
State Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) got the nod from U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside), who holds the seat now but stunned the political establishment in March with the announcement he would leave office at the end of his term. Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) received the backing of former city Public Advocate and former city Consumer Affairs Commissioner Mark Green.
Ackerman lauded Meng at Pomonok Houses in Flushing, where he compared his backstory to hers.
“Much like myself, Grace was raised in Queens by a hardworking, middle-class family,” Ackerman said in a statement. “Grace is without question the most qualified candidate in this race.”
Meng, who has also been endorsed by the Queens Democratic Party, touted her record in the Assembly, saying she had been a voice for middle-class families as well as immigrants, women, children and senior citizens.
The Meng campaign had been hyping a “big campaign” announcement all throughout Memorial Day weekend, declining to disclose Ackerman’s support or the location of the news conference until two hours beforehand.
Later in the day, Green endorsed Lancman in Rego Park, where the two of them called for campaign finance reform.
“Because Rory Lancman has been a leader to take the ‘for sale’ sign off our state government, I’m endorsing him today because he’ll continue to lead that charge when he gets to Washington,” said Green, who has authored two books on campaign finance reform. “We need a smart, strong progressive voice in Washington — Rory’s it.”
Lancman and Green, who has won primaries for mayor, the House and the U.S, Senate but never won, called on the federal government to pass three proposals: one that would reverse the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case that allows unlimited campaign donations from corporations, another that would make donations and advertisements by corporations and political action committees more transparent and finally a proposal that would create a matching funds system to encourage smaller donations instead of huge lumps of money given by special interests.
Lancman held the conference at an ExxonMobil gas station to draw attention to the tens of millions of dollars spent in Washington, D.C., by lobbyists on behalf of the oil industry.