The New York Times called dozens of the Queens party machine’s nominees for county committee. The candidates for 21 seats were running without their consent.
Most of these candidates did not know they were running at all until a reporter told them; two, including Ms. Gambichler, found out when they got letters from the city Board of Elections showing how their names would appear on the Sept. 13 primary ballot. Only four candidates The Times spoke to said they were running on purpose.
The total number of unsuspecting candidates could be considerably higher: Party leaders fielded more than 1,300 nominees, at least a hundred more than in the last race in 2016.
What’s more, the machine is press-ganging nominees even as reform-minded candidates seeking the same entry-level seats at the table, inspired by Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, are being disqualified in droves for falling afoul of complex filing rules.
It is not entirely clear why the party would want to populate the committee with people who did not know they were on it. But any seats filled by party candidates would not be filled by insurgents.
Many of the machine’s unwitting soldiers are elderly or in poor health, and were confused or upset to learn of their political careers from a reporter’s phone call.