Same Faces, Different Tactics in Elizabeth Crowley vs. Anthony Como by John Lauinger - NY Daily News - October 8, 2008
When Democrat Elizabeth Crowley campaigned in the June special election for former City Councilman Dennis Gallagher's seat, she avoided speaking directly to the press.
Her message was crafted by the Parkside Group, a high-powered political consulting firm, and its media-savvy consultants did all the talking.
But as she gears up for a November rematch with Anthony Como, who won that election, Crowley has been waging a conspicuously homespun and unchaperoned campaign.
Crowley told the Queens News she parted ways with the Parkside Group in order to save money and run a "grass-roots" effort.
"I lost by 38 votes and I said, 'What can I do differently?'" Crowley said, noting her new approach is to spend her money on "direct voter contact."
"It's the way that elections should be won - knocking on doors, meeting voters at train stops, going to community organizations," she said.
Crowley said of the Parkside Group: "Their mail and their campaign stuff is a lot more expensive than if I go to the printer myself and have something made."
But Como (R-Middle Village) took issue with Crowley's "new" mail. "She's at meetings handing out her old palm cards," he said.
The Crowley campaign gave The News a card at a candidates forum last week in Ridgewood. It reads: "Vote Crowley. Special Election. Tuesday, June 3rd."
"June 3rd" had been crossed off.
The 30th Council District - which includes Middle Village, Glendale and Ridgewood, with parts of Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and Forest Hills - has been in Republican hands since 1991.
A Democratic insider said Queens party bosses thought the best chance of claiming the seat was in the nonpartisan special election, in which Como and former GOP Councilman Tom Ognibene split GOP votes.
But it didn't happen. Now Queens Democrats - led by Crowley's cousin, Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Queens) - have more important races to consider than Round 2 of Crowley vs. Como, the insider said.
But Michael Reich, the executive secretary of the Queens Democratic Party, said Crowley has done well in fund-raising and has not been abandoned.