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Queens County Democratic Leader Takes On Mayor-Elect Over Speaker's Race

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Melissa Mark-Viverito said Thursday that she has made history, claiming she will be the next speaker of the City Council, but allies of her chief rival say that that victory is premature, and the powerful Queens County Democratic leader, in particular, is taking on the mayor-elect in the process. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

They aren't going down without a fight.

"We have never declared victory," said Rep. Joe Crowley of Queens. "It reminds me a little bit of George Bush on the aircraft carrier. You know, this has a ways to go still."

The victory that Queens Democratic leader Joe Crowley was mocking was Melissa Mark-Viverito's.

"I'm really also very proud, obviously, because I've made history," Mark-Viverito said. "And it's a very important day for us, and I'm really humbled by the support I received from my colleagues."

Mark-Vivierito says she has 30 council members who pledge to support her candidacy for City Council speaker. A candidate needs 26 votes to be elected.

Crowley's candidate, Daniel Garodnick, says that he is still very much in the race.

Mark-Viverito brushed off his candidacy in her first public remarks since declaring victory on Wednesday.

"I look forward to working with Dan," she said. "He's an incredible human being."

Mark-Viverito's coalition of Brooklyn Democrats, progressives and newly elected council members was forged in part by Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who aggressively pushed her candidacy to City Council members.

"What you saw last night was a pretty extraordinary consensus," de Blasio said.

The Queens Democratic boss criticized that involvement on Thursday.

"I think the mayor's entitled to make observations, as he puts them," Crowley said. "I'm no stranger to inside baseball, nor is the mayor. The mayor, prior to being mayor and before the City Council, was someone who was very, very comfortable in the back room."

"On the first point, no promises were made," de Blasio said. "I can tell you that very, very clearly."

Supporters of Mark-Viverito attempted to create an air of inevitability surrounding her speakership on Thursday. The council will not officially decide until January 8.

"By the list that I have seen and the conversations that I have had, we're very solid," said City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras of Queens.

The current speaker, Christine Quinn, was not interested in weighing in on how this selection process has unfolded, particularly on the mayor-elect's involvement.

"I have no comment on that," Quinn said.

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