26 THE QUEENS COURIER • JULY 5, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Van Bramer picks Nixon over Cuomo in gov's race
BY JENNA BAGCAL
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer,
who represents a number of northwest
Queens neighborhoods, endorsed
Cynthia Nixon, Governor Andrew
Cuomo’s Democratic primary challenger,
at a press conference in Sunnyside on
Th ursday morning.
“Cynthia Nixon is a fi ghter for working
class New Yorkers,” Van Bramer said.
“We deserve a champion for all of us, and
Cynthia Nixon will be our champion.”
In his endorsement, Van Bramer said
that Nixon is a staunch supporter of
LGBT rights who is also advocating for
equal access to education and a fi ghter
for the city’s broken subway system. He
added that the actress would also ensure
that arts and culture could be experienced
in every part of New York State.
Prior to throwing her hat into the political
ring, Nixon has been involved in
numerous political causes in and around
New York City. In 2013, she endorsed
Bill de Blasio’s run for mayor, and was
appointed as his representative to Th e
Public Th eater.
Nixon thanked Van Bramer for his
endorsement and praised his steadfast
advocacy on several important issues.
“Jimmy Van Bramer has decades long
experience fi ghting for LGBTQ equality,
and has been a strong leader advocating
for our subways on the City Council.
He has been a champion of the arts and
our critical library system. I am thrilled
to get his endorsement and I look forward
to working with him to create a New
York that works for the many, not just the
wealthy few,” Nixon said.
Following the endorsement, Van
Bramer took to Twitter to show Nixon
and himself taking the train.
“Aft er announcing my support for @
CynthiaNixon for Governor, of course
we took the 7 train together,” wrote Van
Bramer on Twitter.
Recently, Nixon and Alexandria Ocasio-
Cortez, the democratic candidate for
New York’s 14th Congressional District,
announced cross endorsements for their
campaigns. Th e 28-year-old Bronx native,
who stunned the political world on June
26 by unseating longtime Congressman
Joe Crowley in the 14th Congressional
District primary, cited their shared work
in education and support of working families
as her reasons for endorsing Nixon.
Th e Democratic gubernatorial primary
takes place on Sept. 13, with the winner
of the primary facing the Republican
candidate in the Nov. 6 general election.
Photo via twitter.com/CynthiaNixon
Ocasio-Cortez upset of Crowley was years in the making
BY ROBERT POZARYCKI
firstname.lastname@example.org / @robbpoz
When the Associated Press called the
14th Congressional District primary for
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over 20-year
incumbent Congressman Joe Crowley
on Tuesday night, pundits in Queens
and across the country struggled to comprehend
how this monumental political
Crowley appeared to be on his way
toward potentially becoming the next
Speaker of the House; as chair of the
House Democratic Caucus, he had been
rumored for months to be a potential
replacement for Nancy Pelosi if and
when she leaves her post as caucus leader.
Crowley’s re-election was seen almost
as a fait accompli; his district is safely
Democratic, and — with his experience
and leadership as Queens County
Democratic Party chair — many fi gured
that he’d be able to turn back the
challenge of Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-yearold
civic activist making her fi rst run for
public offi ce.
Th ose assumptions, of course, were
proven wrong on June 26. While even
Ocasio-Cortez herself was stunned by
the outcome, an examination of recent
Queens political history suggests that
there were indeed tremors of this political
earthquake going back several years
that many seemed to overlook or ignore.
Turn the clock back to September 2016,
when another fi rmly entrenched incumbent,
Assemblywoman Margaret Markey,
faced a Democratic primary challenge
from another upstart candidate for public
offi ce, Brian Barnwell. It was the summer
when Maspeth, part of the 30th
Assembly District that Markey represented,
raged over a proposed homeless shelter
in the community.
Maspeth residents lashed out at local
elected offi cials, including the nine-term
incumbent Markey. At a Community
Board 5 hearing that August, she was
booed out of the building aft er attempting
to make remarks voicing her opposition
to the shelter. Many residents felt
she wasn’t as passionate as they were
in fi ghting the plan; others felt that she
had been virtually invisible on the scene,
whereas Barnwell attended regular protests
held outside the shelter site.
Barnwell wound up defeating Markey
in the September 2016 primary, getting
more than 62 percent of the vote; he
went on to win the Assembly seat in the
November general election.
Th e second tremor came last year, when
two-term incumbent Councilwoman
Elizabeth Crowley (Congressman
Crowley’s cousin) sought four more
years in offi ce. Robert Holden, a civic
leader with years of experience and community
activism, stood in her way; aft er
Crowley defeated him in the September
Democratic primary, Holden continued
his candidacy on third-party lines, then
wound up securing the Republican Party
nomination later in the month.
Aft er a heated, protracted battle,
Holden wound up narrowly defeating
Crowley in the November election, powered
largely by Republican voters, many
of whom saw their vote against Crowley
as being equal to one against Mayor Bill
Both of those races, in which the establishment
candidate lost, were the result
not only of general voter discontent with
politics as usual, but also low turnout.
Barnwell’s primary victory occurred in
a race in which just a little more than
2,500 votes were cast; Holden’s win over
Councilwoman Crowley came in a citywide
election in which just 22.3 percent
of Queens voters participated.
Th e combination of low voter turnout,
constituent anger and dynamic candidates
propelled the incumbents to defeat
in those races — and it worked again in
the June 26 primary.
Some suggested that the demographics
helped tip the scales in Ocasio-Cortez’s
favor (nearly half of the 14th District’s
population is Hispanic), but it was her
campaign more than any other factor
that gave her this victory.
Ocasio-Cortez fought for every vote
by connecting to young Democrats in
northwest Queens and the Bronx — on
the street and on social media — with a
progressive agenda focused on the working
class. She also hit Crowley hard on
issues that didn’t sit well with many progressive
voters in the district, including
accepting campaign contributions
from corporate donors (Crowley had
out-raised Ocasio-Cortez by nearly 10:1),
his leadership role in a Queens political
machine, and accusations that he didn’t
spend most of his time in the district he
Her strategy paid off in the end, with a
motivated team of voters and volunteers
getting out the vote on Primary Day.
But just like the previously mentioned
upsets in Queens, the total turnout was
again anemic, fi tting a continued citywide
trend of overall voter apathy.
Just 27,444 votes were cast on June 26
in the 14th District; the New York State
Board of Elections notes that the district
has 235,745 registered Democrats.
Th at means just 11.6 percent of registered
Democrats participated in the 14th
What’s more, these primary voters
eff ectively decided who will represent
them on Capitol Hill for at least the
next two years. Ocasio-Cortez is expected
to easily win the seat outright in the
November general election against her
Republican opponent, Anthony Pappas,
an economic professor.
Read more at QNS.com.
Photo by Andrea Elizabeth/Ocasio 2018
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pulled off perhaps the
biggest upset in Queens political history by
defeating Congressman Joe Crowley on June 26.