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Blurry ballot lines

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Daily Point

Against the will of the New York WFP

And you thought the congressional primaries were over.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated Rep. Joe Crowley in the June Democratic primary for New York’s 14th district. But on Thursday, she tweeted that Crowley was “mounting a 3rd party challenge against me and the Democratic Party — and against the will of @NYWFP.”

The source for that bold claim seems to be Working Families Party New York director Bill Lipton’s statement to The New York Times that Crowley wasn’t vacating the minor-party WFP line he won. That would mean Crowley would be on the ballot in November despite losing the Democratic line.

Crowley conceded graciously in June and has said he’s not running. But as Point readers know, it’s not easy to get off a ballot line in New York. Options include dying, moving out of state or accepting a nomination for a different office. We wrote about this issue with regards to Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory, who lost the Democratic primary in the 2nd Congressional District but still won the WFP line.

According to a Crowley campaign aide, the WFP originally asked that he accept nomination for a New York office outside of his district, which Crowley rejected.

Then the ask was for Crowley to get out of town.

“The only remaining way for Crowley to do the right thing is to switch his residency to Virginia, where his family resides and his children already go to school. It would fix the problem he created in an instant,” Lipton said in a pointed statement to The Point.

Crowley rejected that possibility on Twitter, too.

Surely, this won’t be the end of the story. Crowley is still listed on the Queens County Democratic Party website as chair, and he doesn’t seem ready to leave New York.

And the ballot issue is real for WFP, facing the need to get 50,000 general election gubernatorial votes to retain an automatic line on the ballot. That’s a different race, but there are similar questions about who will carry the minor-party standard. Gubernatorial challenger Cynthia Nixon now has it, though the party doesn’t want to be a spoiler in November should she lose in her Democratic Party primary to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Then there’s Gregory on Long Island. According to a WFP spokesman Thursday afternoon, Gregory will come off the WFP ballot line.

How? That’s still unclear.

Mark Chiusano

Reference Point

From the archive: Giuliani’s antics

If you think Rudy Giuliani has engaged at times in theatrics in representing his new client, President Donald Trump, a trip to the vaults of the Newsday editorial board provides a reminder of when Giuliani was part of a real stunt.

Thirty years ago this week, the board wrote about Giuliani, at the time the federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, and then-Sen. Alfonse D’Amato donning disguises and buying two vials each of crack cocaine on a Manhattan street corner to demonstrate how easy it was to buy the drug amid the crack epidemic.

The editorial on July 11, 1988, called the stunt “entertaining,” “amusing” and “street comedy at its broadest,” but “not informative or otherwise useful,” since crack was already widely recognized as a problem.

Also amusing was the board’s description of the two men’s disguises:

“D’Amato, who was wearing a waist-length Army jacket, looked like a miscast extra on the set of ‘M*A*S*H’; Giuliani, clad in a biker’s black leather vest, appeared just a trifle uncomfortable even with 30 heavily armed undercover cops only a few steps away.”

The board identified two kinds of political stunts — “those that successfully illustrate important issues of public policy and those that are transparently self-serving without any detectable vestige of serious purpose.”

The Al & Rudy Show, as the board dubbed it, “fell into the latter category.”

Michael Dobie

Pencil Point

The new seasons

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Pointing Out

Facebook ads repeat GOP meme

Facebook ads run by Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro cover mostly standard fare: ethics issues, Republican complaints like crushing property taxes and obvious jabs at Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for NYC subway meltdowns. In keeping with the Dutchess County executive’s preferred image as a reasonable and experienced manager, there are ads about Lyme disease, an issue the campaign says is particularly serious upstate and in the Hudson Valley. (It’s an issue on Long Island, too.)

But Molinaro’s campaign also has run content on a less mainstream issue: the possibility of sex offenders voting in schools.

This has become something of a Republican meme ever since Cuomo in April used an executive order to restore voting rights to felons on parole. Molinaro’s somewhat alarmist Facebook petitions attempt to portray that move as a public safety threat: “It’s bad enough he’s pardoned countless sex offenders and murderers to get them to vote for him in November, but we cannot allow convicted sex offender [sic] into our schools and near our children.”

According to the state Board of Elections, NYC schools are closed on Election Day, but others remain open.

The issue also has moved beyond Facebook. Last month, Molinaro called part of Cuomo’s felon-voting push “illegal,” saying that the governor should pass legislation on the topic, rather than doing it by executive order.

Mark Chiusano

Columns