Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Crowley Vs. Ognibene, "The Thriller in Middle Villa"
Elizabeth Crowley hopes reelection for Council seat will mean break from ongoing campaign
BY John Lauinger
Daily News Staff Writer
Winning reelection in November would give City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley her first full term - and a chance to finally take a break from the campaign trail.
The Glendale Democrat is gearing up for her third election in 17 months - a whirlwind schedule triggered when the district's former councilman, Dennis Gallagher, pleaded guilty to sex-abuse charges last year.
"The pace has been nonstop," Crowley (D-Middle Village) said of her campaign in the 30th Council District. "It's kept me going. It's kept me reaching out."
Crowley lost a four-way nonpartisan special election to Anthony Como in June 2008. But she then unseated him in a November special election, winning the right to serve the final year of Gallagher's term.
But with a four-year term at stake this time around, Crowley, 31, faces a general election challenge from a battle-tested Republican Thomas Ognibene.
Ognibene, a 67-year-old lawyer from Middle Village, served on the Council from 1991 to 2001. His experience and name recognition make GOP insiders giddy at his prospects for retaking the district, which includes Middle Village, Glendale and Ridgewood, with parts of Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and Forest Hills.
Crowley, however, has proven to be an adept fund-raiser, amassing $55,115 so far compared with Ognibene's $36,596, city records show.
Ognibene, who has spent $8,330 so far from his war chest, finished third in the June 2008 special election and bowed out of the contest last November.
He said he decided to run this year because he believes Crowley rode the coattails of Barack Obama's popularity last year.
During his decade in office during the Rudy Giuliani era, he said, government cooperated with citizens to solve quality-of-life problems and improve safety.
He said he thinks that approach has been abandoned in recent years.
Crowley, who has spent $16,580 of her campaign cash so far, slammed Ognibene's Obama-factor argument. She noted that in some parts of the district, like Maspeth, she outperformed Obama by "10% of the vote."
She added that she helped improve the quality of life in the district by spurring completion of a downzoning for Middle Village, Maspeth and Glendale, which the Council passed last week.
Ognibene said the rezoning had begun while he was in office.
Posted by Patrick Henry at 10:35 AM