To call the June 24 Democratic primary for the 5th Congressional District low-key would be an overstatement.
Eight-term Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens, Nassau) is being challenged by Joseph Marthone, an accountant whose political resume includes two unsuccessful bids for the state Senate and two for the City Council.
Marthone also filed a notice of candidacy for the 5th Congressional District in 2012.
“We still have work to do,” Meeks said in a telephone interview last week. “We need to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, with things that should have been done a long time ago to stop the damage they suffered, whether it be dunes, sea walls or whatever it takes.
“We need to have a livable wage. People are being priced out of New York. I would like a minimum wage of at least $10.10.”
Meeks said jobs still are a top priority, and that he is working on bills that would open up and foster overseas trade that would benefit businesses in the district.
The congressman also said his experience and seniority, coupled with positions on the powerful Foreign Affairs and Financial Services committees in the House of Representatives, ensure residents of the district a powerful voice in Washington.
The Chronicle was unable to reach Marthone for comment, but his website outlines his positions on major issues.
Marthone said Meeks, with no real challengers in the past, has become comfortable and complacent. He wants to establish business incubators that would give new entrepreneurs access to established professionals with knowledge and resources that could help a start-up flourish.
Marthone’s website also states his strong support for curbing gun violence, tying the problem to “the absence of leadership.”
The site says he would offer legislation “to sensibly address” the issue of gun control on the streets of New York City, but offers few specifics on what legislation he would propose in Congress or how it would differ from measures in the past offered by New York Democrats such as Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens) or Carolyn McCarthy (D-Nassau).
With several Democrats from Southeast Queens in legal trouble over corruption charges the last few years, and investigations of his own behavior behind him, Meeks said he does not worry about voters taking out their frustrations on him.
“If you look at those allegations, you will find they were all incorrect,” Meeks said. “The House Ethics Committee has cleared me.” He blames the New York Post and other right-leaning groups and individuals for carrying out politically motivated smear campaigns.
As for funding, Meeks’ June 4 campaign finance forms say he has raised more then $117,000 for the current period and has $77,600 in the bank.
A check of records on the Federal Election Commission website turned up no financial filings for Marthone, though he may not be required to file them if he has not raised a substantial amount.