Newsday – Updated March 5, 2018 3:52 PM
What’s behind this endorsement
By Rita Ciolli and Mark Chiusano
Those who see the world through the prism of Suffolk Democratic leader Rich Schaffer and his feud with County Executive Steve Bellone see the clever hand of the party boss in this serious blow to Grechen Shirley’s efforts. Her persistent personal attacks on Schaffer have made her popular with Bellone’s base.
Schaffer isn’t crazy about DuWayne Gregory taking a second run at the Republican King, but he supports the legislature’s presiding officer as the Democrats’ standard-bearer.
And don’t underestimate the animus from the WFP, with its more-establishment progressives, toward the Long Island Activists, a group knit together from the supporters of Bernie Sanders in 2016. In some dealings, Grechen Shirley has alienated two key segments of the left’s base, the LGBT community and the powerful 1199 S.E.I.U. union.
Some at Friday’s WFP nominating meeting made a strong case for Gregory as a person of color. And the WFP, which has worked closely on issues with Gregory as a county legislator, wasn’t about to abandon him on a whim for someone who is new to the cause.
There’s no doubt that Grechen Shirley has raised more money than Gregory, but she hasn’t made a lot of friends. She still could win the Democratic primary in the 2nd Congressional District race, but her chances of unseating King look a lot less promising.