From the NY Times:
Clyde Vanel’s yard signs were surprisingly ubiquitous. His billboards were “in your face.” And his bus-shelter ads were “tacky, tacky, tacky.”
That was the buzz at the Guy R. Brewer United Democratic Club one night in August. Right outside the club, the headquarters of the local political power structure, Mr. Vanel’s face grinned out onto a busy street in southeast Queens and greeted Councilman Leroy G. Comrie Jr.’s supporters as they filed in to plan their fight against Mr. Vanel, the upstart Democratic challenger.
“Takes a lot of heart,” said Richard Gibbs, a Comrie supporter and vice president of the United Black Men of Queens County, a civic group. He chuckled, adding, “Somebody’ll take a contract out on him if he keeps on going like that.”
Mr. Vanel, 35, said he knew the club would find the ads cheeky. Democratic Party leaders, he believed, viewed the very act of challenging their candidate as bad manners.
That is why Donnie Whitehead, the driving force behind Mr. Vanel’s campaign, says he is staking his reputation — built over decades as an unofficial neighborhood leader — on an inexperienced candidate he met just months ago. Traditionally, Mr. Whitehead says, just as the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ, the only way into office in southeast Queens has been with the blessing of the Brewer club and the man who has run it for 39 years, the former councilman Archie Spigner.
“No more only getting elected through Archie,” Mr. Whitehead said.