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Queens Chronicle

Who’s the real insider?

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Posted: Thursday, August 26, 2010 12:00 am

Another state Assembly race in northeastern Queens, another ruckus over a flier mailed out by one of the candidates.

But this time it’s not about labeling someone an extremist, it’s about labeling someone an insider.

Which is worse in today’s political climate is an open question.

What’s not an open question is that the battle to replace outgoing 26th District Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside) got a lot hotter this week after Ed Braunstein, one of four Democrats vying for his party’s nomination, sent out a new flier.

“Albany is an embarrassment,” the mailing says. “We deserve better. Career politicians are completely out of touch with our values.” The problem, according to Braunstein’s opponents — fellow Democrats Elio Forcina, John Duane and Steve Behar, as well as Republican Vince Tabone — is that Braunstein is in bed with the very “career politicians” he derides.

An aide to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Braunstein is supported by the Queens Democratic Organization and is related to a well-connected lobbyist.

“All he’s done is work in downtown Manhattan as an Albany insider,” Forcina said. “His campaign is a who’s who list of the politically powerful and connected in downtown Manhattan and Albany.”

Forcina also criticized his opponent for calling himself a “hero of reform” in the mailing. He claimed Braunstein was trying to link himself to former Mayor Ed Koch’s New York Uprising movement, which gives that label to candidates who pledge to really turn the capital upside down and make it work for the people again.

“Any fair-minded person should be insulted by this approach,” Tabone told the Daily News, which first reported the controversy.

“While his opponents are launching ridiculous political attacks, Ed Braunstein has unveiled a comprehensive plan to reform Albany and end the dysfunction,” Braunstein spokesman Neil Giacobbi told the News in response. “Ed’s plan includes sweeping campaign finance reform, tough new ethics laws and independent redistricting.”

Last year the campaign of then-former City Councilman David Weprin and his opponent in the nearby 24th Assembly District race, Bob Friedrich, battled over a Weprin flier that labeled Friedrich an extremist and contained the image of a swastika. Now-Assemblyman Weprin (D-Little Neck) won that race, but this year Friedrich is running against him again in the regular election for the same seat.

Northeastern Queens is just a gift that keeps on giving for political junkies.

Welcome to the discussion.