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New York mayoral candidate John Liu shakes hands with a supporter while attending the annual Dominican Day Parade in the Bronx, New York, July 28, 2013 . REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS SOCIETY ANNIVERSARY) - RTX1232A
Democrat John Liu
Goal Thermometer

Good news, my fellow Kossacks: A new front has been opened in the battle against the power-hungry renegade Democrats who've made a mockery of democracy and handed control of New York's state Senate to the GOP—even though Democrats hold a majority of seats in the chamber. Even better news: This time, the playing field favors us. Former New York City Comptroller John Liu recently launched a challenge to Queens state Sen. Tony Avella, a member of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, and Daily Kos is proud to endorse him.

Liu is an outspoken progressive whose liberal bona fides are without question. He was heavily supported by the Working Families Party when he ran for comptroller in 2009, and he's set to pick up their endorsement again. He's also earned the backing of several unions, including the influential Hotel Trades Council.

The Queens Democratic Party has officially endorsed Liu as well, and they're hopping mad at Avella's betrayal:

"There was a fraud committed against people in that senatorial district," [Rep. Joe] Crowley said. "They believed they were electing a Democrat. If Mr. Avella wants to run as a Republican, that's his right to do that. He can do that in this election."

Crowley said, "You can't get elected as a Democrat and then decide to switch parties."

Damn straight. Avella already had a reputation for being aloof and friendless, and his self-serving decision to abandon his party has only left him more alone. Avella may have been hoping that state Sen. Jeff Klein, the leader of the IDC junta and a prodigious fundraiser, would step in to save him, but that's unlikely now. Klein has to worry about his own primary challenge from former New York City Councilman Oliver Koppell, and Avella has a pitiful $3,000 in his campaign coffers. He's not in good shape.

Liu, meanwhile, is an incredibly energetic campaigner, and as the first Asian-American ever elected citywide, he also inspires tremendous fervor from his most loyal supporters in the Asian community. The only potential knock on Liu is that his treasurer and a fundraiser from his unsuccessful mayoral campaign last year were both convicted of campaign finance fraud, but Liu himself was never implicated.

Avella, by contrast, is undeniably guilty of betraying his party. Not only do we need to defeat him in order to help Democrats take back the state Senate, but we've got to send a message nationwide: If you're a Democrat who's even thinking about selling out your party to advance your own personal interests, you're going to pay the ultimate political price.

Please donate $3 to help John Liu deliver that message to Democrats everywhere—and especially to Tony Avella.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 07:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by New York City.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Democrats need better spies, clearly. Before (4+ / 0-)

    elections in which Republicans run as Democrats, secretly determined to switch after the election.  A whole bunch of planning BEFORE the election would have gone into Avella's switch.  Wherever those conversations and meetings took place, there should have been someone planted to connect the dots and know what was afoot.

    In other words, a football or sports analogy is apt here.  You can't win a game where there are no referees and where the opposite team is breaking all the rules, determined to win at any cost.  You have to break some rules too, to try to beat that team.  If they are going to foul you no matter what, you'd better be prepared to do some fouling yourself.  

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 07:20:03 AM PDT

    •  It's a bit tragic really (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sidnora, Amber6541, stevenaxelrod

      I'm not a New Yorker, but from NYers on this site, Avella was actually a strong progressive voice in the NY Senate. His betrayal was apparently QUITE the shock to many people.

      He's got to go though. I'm excited to see how Liu will represent liberal interests in the Senate!

      "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." - Barack Obama

      by anshmishra on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 07:32:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How about a boost for Koppell, too? (8+ / 0-)

    I realize he's not quite the outspoken progressive that Liu is, but he also doesn't have a rather icky campaign finance scandal in his background. Plus, he's taking on the IDC ringleader.

    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

    by sidnora on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 07:30:49 AM PDT

  •  He looks like a good guy. (0+ / 0-)

    Wish I was in his district to vote for him. If he ever runs for statewide office I like his bonafides.

  •  VA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Just read about a Virginia Dem working for the evils to stop Medicaid expansion, why aren't such people kicked out of the party immediately?  

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 07:44:43 AM PDT

    •  Not necessary. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      melvynny, Amber6541

      He kicked himself out.

      He resigned his seat in order to accept a patronage job from the VA GOP majority, and while he has since decided he won't accept the job bribe, cuz you can get in trouble for stuff like that, you can't "unresign". Unfortunately his former seat is a lock for the GOP.

      "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

      by sidnora on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 07:54:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  good (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Amber6541, sidnora

        Are the NY turncoats still in the D party?

        Actions speak louder than petitions.

        by melvynny on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 08:06:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, they are. (0+ / 0-)

          They even set up an arrangement in the Senate so that the GOP  leader, Dean Skelos, and the IDC leader, Jeff Klein, take turns presiding every 2 weeks. So technically, there is a Democratic Senate majority half the time, but if they don't caucus with the Democrats, what good does that do?

          And if you ask why they weren't thrown out of the party immediately for this stunt, I have two possible answers: 1) beats me, and 2) Andrew Cuomo.

          So, here's the interesting part of this. Because "Democratic" Gov. Cuomo, who enabled this arrangement in the first place, was forced to promise to support Democratic candidates for the Senate in order to secure the WFP nomination, I fully expect the turncoats to come scurrying back to the Democratic caucus before November. That way he can continue supporting them, and they think that will save their political skins from these challenges. BTW, I don't think Cuomo's promises are worth the breath it took to speak them.

          I heard last night that a third member of the unholy alliance, Diane Savino, has probably attracted a challenger, too. It's a shame that she went this way; I used to like her quite a lot, and like Avella, she was pretty liberal for her constituency (Staten Island). But I guess she liked her boyfriend better than her principles.

          "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

          by sidnora on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 04:20:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Progressive from Taiwan?  Just like me :)

  •  Anyone know the state of primary to replace Waxman (0+ / 0-)

    Please tell me Matt friggin' Miller isn't winning.
    I'm assuming its ok to ask about a Cali elex in here?

  •  Ha "vote for the crook, (0+ / 0-)

    It's important". To recall a Louisiana governor race many years ago.

    The only potential knock on Liu is that his treasurer and a fundraiser from his unsuccessful mayoral campaign last year were both convicted of campaign finance fraud, but Liu himself was never implicated.
  •  I really don't like that... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Darth Stateworker, charliehall2

    ...that Jenny Hou, a 24-year old campaign aide took the fall for John Liu's fundraising irregularities.

    This kid did 10 months in jail for illegal fundraising, and may get deported because of it. Letting that happen to someone who's working for you isn't right.

    And yes, the fact that she's an attractive young woman bugs me more than the 47-year old male campaign manager who also was convicted. (That guy shoulda known better, imho).

    It may be that John Liu had no control over the financial aspects of his campaign and was totally ignorant of proper accounting and auditing controls. But he's a freakin' comptroller. C'mon.

    The Diarist says that Tony Avella is really bad. I don't know much about Queens, but I'll trust that the Diarist has done his homework. I'm not saying don't vote for Liu, but in the future, we need to get in front of this kind of thing earlier. There are millions of Democrats in NYC and I can't believe that John Liu is the best we can offer.

    I will donate $3 to John Liu. In pennies. Dirty pennies with covered in sticky candy residue that I found in the car under my kids booster seat.

    •  I am not thrilled ith Liu either (4+ / 0-)

      I don't know if the diarist is a New Yorker. But Liu's fundraising issues stink to high heaven.

      Maybe he's a progressive guy -- honestly as one living in the city I can say he hasn't demonstrated that all that much. But some of that might be a function of his job.

      More to the point, the guy's job was to monitor finances. That's what a frigging controller does. If a CFO says "well, i didn't know that our underlings were giving bribes to Congressmen" you wouldn't believe it for a hot second, even if he said "not my department."

      Either Liu was not very good at his job, or he was paying so little attention to his campaign workers that they did something that even a non-accountant type could see was not kosher a mile away. or he's a terrible judge of who to hire. None of this makes him look good, even if he wasn't implicated in the matter.

      So no, Liu doesn't get my vote. I wish I could say differently.

  •  Not sure I agree with you... (2+ / 0-)

    As much I respect David Nir, this is a tough one for me.  I'm a New Yorker and I like Liu, and thought he was a great NYC Comptroller.  But Avella is a very good Senator (he has a reputation for being "aloof and friendless"?? ...seems a bit unsubstantiated).  Avella sponsored the millionaire's tax when Cuomo opposed it, he sponsored the stock transfer tax when the Assembly opposed it.  He's an economic populist. Shouldn't we encourage progressive electeds?

  •  Liu is the Worst (3+ / 0-)

    He may be a Democrat, but he is a craven, corrupt, disingenuous, self-interested career politician like no other. How about some fresh Democratic blood rather than recycling the same guys who run and lose over and over again.

  •  wow, bad move here. I live in ne queens (3+ / 0-)

    tony was my councilman for years before he went to the senate. I have spoken with him on several occasions, i know the people here support him.  I supported and voted for Liu for mayor, but he's radioactive here. All people know about him is the scandals, he is NEVER gonna win. Albany politics has been a mess for over a hundred years and NYC politics is done by machine, asking for national support for this race is stupid and uninformed. Liu is good one of the few politicians i actually like and don't believe is a corporate shill, but supporting him is a waste of money.

    Solvent Green is Grandma

    by mad cow on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 09:24:17 AM PDT

  •  Oh Please (3+ / 0-)

    I'm mad at Avella too, but John Liu is not a candidate to get excited about.   The Kos community has much better things to do than waste its energy working on behalf of the Queens Democratic Party machine.

  •  Too much baggage. Can't we find someone that is... (3+ / 0-)

    Too much baggage. Can't we find someone that isn't an unindicted co-conspirator in a campaign finance scandal?

    Endorsing this guy is an embarrassment, even if we want to get rid of the IDC turncoats. There is no sense in exchanging one corrupt Dem for another. Glossing over the campaign finance issues in the diary like Liu is perfectly innocent is a bit disappointing as well.

    Between this and the cheering over the WFPs "victory" over Cuomo, I'm starting to think maybe you guys should stick to national politics - because you don't seem to quite get New York.

  •  Again, respectfully disagree... (0+ / 0-)

    State Senate Dems in New York have been deathly afraid of crossing Cuomo in the hope of tapping into his electoral support and $33 million war chest.  They rarely challenge his horrible policy choices.  I think Avella got tired of sitting in a conference that sometimes acts afraid of its own shadow to stand up for progressive values and against our corporatist governor.  No insider knowledge here, but I'm guessing that Avella got tired of a conference that plays it safe all of the time.  If anything, he seems impatient.  But impatience against inaction is no vice.

  •  Democrats are either ineffective or in cahoots. (0+ / 0-)

    How is that traitorous? With some very minor exceptions, Democrats are either ineffective or in cahoots. If you look at the last 30+ years; austerity and inequality has steady moved forward, regardless of party in power. I tend to believe they are in cahoots, just two heads of the same beast receiving money and pre-written laws from the same corporations. You don't have to look any further then appointed positions that are chaired by the same people regardless of President, carrying out the same agenda as before under the other parties control.  Or regulatory insiders that are supposed to police the very corporations/industries they used to work for and/or lobbied for.  Like Obama's FCC chairman, John Wheeler.  It's like putting the wolf in charge of the hen house. Sorry for the obvious metaphor, but that's the problem, this SHOULD be obvious to anyone paying attention. We are only playing into their game of mass distraction and getting so wrapped up in rhetoric and made complacent by nice sounding Orwellian named programs that we don't see that we are only moving in one direction, their direction. This us-vs-them Republicrat-Democran shell game just wastes our energy and gets us involved in the sports of politics and does nothing but distract from real progress.  Either way, the democratic party has made itself irrelevant and we have to stop doing the same thing and expecting different results.

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