By John Toscano
Few Dem Incumbents Challenged In Primaries In Busy Election Year
There’s been so much attention focused on this year’s presidential election that many people don’t realize that there will also be contests for the United States Senate, Congress, the state senate and the Assembly on this year’s ballot.
This past spring, would-be candidates were scrambling all over the city gathering signatures to try to get a place on the ballot. That’s all over and done with but now some of those candidate hopefuls are fighting challenges to their petitions which could knock them off the ballot.
Despite the challenges, the Board of Elections has issued tentative lists of candidates from all parties. We’re going to bring you up to date on who they are, who faces a primary challenge and who managed to avoid any opposition as they seek re-election.
Also, in a separate story in this issue, we’ll provide a look at the delegates to the Republican National Convention that convenes August 30 at Madison Square Garden. Election wise, things are really popping in the borough.
Getting back to candidates, we’ll start with the only statewide contest besides the presidential election here in New York. Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat, is running for re-election to another six-year term. He’s opposed by upstate Assemblymember Howard Mills, who has the Republican and Conservative lines. Schumer has a $20 million war chest and is backed by a strong and large Democratic Party in the state, so he’ll be very hard to beat, it appears.
Next on the ballot are the five Congressmembers representing Queens, all but one of whom represent parts of other boroughs. All five are up for election to another two-year term.
Congressmember Gregory Meeks (D–Southeast Queens), the delegation’s only black member and the only Representative with an all-Queens district, is in the clear as far as re-election because he has no opposition either in the September 14 primary or the November 2 general election.
Congressmember Joseph Crowley (D–Queens/Bronx) faces three opponents, all from The Bronx, in the primary. They are Curtis Brooks, Dennis Coleman and Aniello Grimaldi. Should Crowley win the nomination, he’ll face another Bronx pol, Joseph Cinqueman (R–C) in the general election. Should Crowley lose the primary, he’ll be on the ballot anyway in November as the Working Families Party (WFP) candidate in November.
In the 5th Congressional District in Northeast Queens, veteran Congressmember Gary Ackerman has no primary challenge. But there is a primary in the district—a rare Republican primary—between two Flushing men, Stephen Graves and Gonzalo Policarpio, who would like to challenge Ackerman in the general elections.
Like Ackerman, Congressmember Anthony Weiner (Queens/Brooklyn) faces no challenge in the Democratic primary, but Jerry Cronin, a Rockaway Republican, has submitted nominating petitions to run against Weiner in the general election. Weiner’s a strong favorite to win.
Congressmember Carolyn Maloney (D–Queens/Manhattan) may be able to avoid a primary challenge from Robert Jereski, who’s been ruled off the ballot. But a challenge in the general election from Republican Anton Sardonovich of Manhattan, who she defeated two years ago, seems assured.
In state senate elections, Democratic incumbents Ada L. Smith, Malcolm Smith, and Toby Ann Stavisky have no opponents in either the primary or general election.
The same goes for the borough’s two Republican state senators, veterans Frank Padavan (Bellerose) and Serphin Maltese (Middle Village).
Another Democratic veteran lawmaker, state Senator George Onorato (Astoria) has escaped a primary, but Daniel Maio, a Republican from Astoria, is challenging him in the general election.
The borough’s remaining senate member, Democrat John Sabini (Jackson Heights), seeking re-election for the first time, has a primary challenge from Luis Rosero of Corona.
In Assembly races, only one incumbent faces a primary, Barry Grodenchik, representing Flushing’s 22nd Assembly District. He’s opposed by Benjamin Singer, who’s supported by the rival Democratic Club of Flushing, and Jimmy K. Meng Singer says he fended off an attempt by Grodenchik to get him off the ballot, but a challenge to Meng’s petitions is pending in the courts. Meng also submitted petitions to get on the Independence Party and Conservative Party lines, so he’ll be around in November to face Grodenchik or Singer in the general election.
Meanwhile, 12 other Democratic incumbent Assemblymembers have escaped primaries and general election challenges, so their quest for election to new two-year terms are all settled. Five other Democratic incumbents who have avoided primary challenges face opponents in November.
The dozen who are home free in this year’s elections are Assemblymembers Audrey Pheffer (23rd AD, Rockaways); Mark Weprin (24th AD, Bayside), Brian McLaughlin (25th AD, Flushing); Nettie Mayersohn (27th AD, Flushing); William Scarborough (29th AD, Jamaica); Margaret Markey (30th AD, Maspeth); Barbara Clark (33rd AD, St. Albans); Ivan Lafayette (34th AD, Jackson Heights); Jeffrion Aubry (35th AD, East Elmhurst); Michael Gianaris (36th AD, Astoria); Catherine Nolan (37th AD, Ridgewood), and Anthony Seminerio (38th AD, Ozone Park).
This leaves five incumbent Democrats in the Assembly with no primary but a challenge in November. They are: Ann Margaret Carrozza (26th AD, Bayside), whose general election opponent will be Peter Boudouvas (R-C), also of Bayside; Assemblymember Michael Cohen (28th AD, Forest Hills) who’s opposed by Michael D. Weiss (R), also of Forest Hills; Assemblymember Michele R. Titus (31st AD, South Ozone Park), who must meet Michael Duvalle of the Independence Party; Assemblymember Vivian Cook (32nd AD, Jamaica), who’s opposed by Jereline Hunter (R–C, Jamaica), and Assemblymember Jose Peralta (39th AD, Corona), whose opponent is Giash Ahmed (R, Jackson Heights).
In the Civil Court races, the son of veteran Assemblymember Nettie Mayersohn of Flushing will be the Democratic candidate for a countrywide Civil Court judge post. Lee Mayersohn of Bayside is the younger of Mayersohn’s two sons. He will be opposed by Peter F. Lane of Whitestone.
In another Civil Court election, in the First District, Joseph Esposito, a Democrat from Long Island City, faces Cassandra F. Muller of Briarwood, who has three lines, Republican, Conservative and Independence.
In future columns before the primaries, we will report on any changes in the present line up of election contests.