Former City Councilman Leroy Comrie is garnering up plenty of support in his attempt to unseat embattled state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis).
Comrie, who most recently served as deputy borough president under Borough President Melinda Katz, announced endorsements from important groups like the Queens County Democratic Organization and U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), who chairs that group.
Other political leaders throwing support behind the former policymaker included U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica), City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) and City Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans), who succeeded Comrie in the Council after his term expired. Union groups Teamsters Joint Council 16, Local 1199 and 32 BJ SEIU also banded together to endorse Comrie in his Senate run.
Smith, who was first elected to the seat in 2000, has had a turbulent few years since facing federal corruption charges and being kicked out of the state Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference last year. He, along with several other lawmakers from Queens and upstate New York, were accused of facilitating bribes in order to get Smith’s name into last year’s mayoral race on the GOP line.
Other lawmakers in on the scandal included former City Councilman Dan Halloran as well as former Queens Republican Chairman Vincent Tabone, who was also granted a mistrial along with Smith.
Since then, Smith was granted a mistrial and given a new trial date for Jan. 5, which also freed the lawmaker up to pursue re-election. Now, the lawmaker has seen Democratic leaders and groups endorse Comrie for his seat as the two head into a primary race on Sept. 9.
Smith’s campaign could not be reached for comment.
Rev. Charles Norris, who publicly supported Smith in previous campaigns, also backtracked from the senator’s support team and instead lined up behind Comrie.
Comrie declared his run for the Senate in April. He previously serviced as a member of the City Council in southern Queens for 12 years with top posts in various committees throughout the borough delegation.
By Phil Corso