2005-08-03 / Political Page

Primary, General Election Races Set In Queens; Vallone Jr., Gallagher, Addabbo, Comrie Unopposed

At this moment, seven Queens city councilmembers running for re-election, all Democrats, are facing primary challenges on Primary Day, September 13, as they attempt to get on the ballot.

Three Democratic incumbents—Tony Avella, John Liu and Eric Gioia—have escaped primaries, but have drawn opponents in the November general elections.

And four incumbents seeking re-election—Councilmembers Peter Vallone Jr., Leroy Comrie, and Joseph Addabbo Jr.—have drawn no opposition in either the primary or general elections and thus have earned a second term. All are Democrats.

Also in the unchallenged category is Councilmember Dennis Gallagher of Middle Village, the only Republican in the 14–member Queens delegation. He’ll get a new four-year term also.

One other council incumbent who represents a Queens/Brooklyn district, Diana Reyna, a Democrat from the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, is also up for re-election and faces a primary. Her 34th Council District includes parts of Ridgewood in Queens.

Vallone (Astoria), Comrie (St. Albans), Gallagher, and Addabbo (Ozone Park), and any of the others who win re-election, will face their second and final term under the Term Limits law.

Facing primaries along with Reyna are Councilmembers Hiram Monserrate (Corona), David Weprin (Hollis), James Gennaro (Fresh Meadows), Helen Sears (Jackson Heights), Allan Jennings Jr. (Jamaica), Melinda Katz (Forest Hills), James Sanders Jr. (Rockaway).

Monserrate faces Luis Jiminez from Corona and Marlene J. Tapper of East Elmhurst in the primary in the 21st District.

In the 23rd District Weprin, council Finance chairman, has one opponent, Celestina Akbar of Queens Village.

Gennaro has drawn two opponents in the 24th District primary, Renee Lobo of Rego Park and Dilip Nath of Fresh Meadows. Lobo is assured of a place on the general election ballot on the Independence Party line and Gennaro has the Working Family Party line. The primary winner will face Republican candidate Stephen Lynch from Kew Gardens, in the general election.

Sears, in the Jackson Heights/Elmhurst 25th District, is also facing two opponents in the primary—Rodolfo Flores and Bryan Pu-Folkes, both of Jackson Heights. Flores is also running on the Independence Party line and Sears also has the Working Families Party line. The primary winner will face Masud M. Rahman, a Republican in November.

In the 28th District in Jamaica, Jennings, who has had a multitude of problems in his first term, has drawn five opponents, the most challengers in any Dem primary.

The most troublesome promises to be Thomas White Jr. of Jamaica, a former councilmember who has won the endorsement of the Queens Democratic organization and former Congressmember Floyd Flake now a pastor. This appears to make White the frontrunner with an edge over the embattled Jennings, but he’s been written off before and has survived the challenge.

Also in the race are Albert Baldeo and Clifton Stanley Diaz of Jamaica, Charles A. Bilal of Rosedale and Dhanpaul Narine of South Ozone Park.

Bilal is also the Independence Party candidate. Awaiting the primary winner is Jereline Hunter of Jamaica, the Republican candidate.

In the 28th District (Forest Hills) Katz faces Joseph Noterino, also of Forest Hills, in the primary, and in the 31st District, Sanders is opposed by David R. Hooks Jr. of Far Rockaway.

In the Queens/Brooklyn district, Reyna is opposed by Gladys Santiago and George Rivera, both of Brooklyn.

The primary winner, if it’s not Reyna, will face Reyna on the Working Families Party line; Richard Trainer of Brooklyn on the Republican–Conservative lines and Bryan Farmen of Glendale, Queens, on the Independence Party line.

Avella will face Peter T. Boudouvas, a Republican Conservative/Independence Party candidate on the Democrat, Working Families Party lines.

Raquel Lacomba Walker of Flushing, a Conservative will challenge Liu, who has the Democratic/Independence and Working Families lines in the Flushing (20th District) race.

Nancy Hanks of Sunnyside, the Independence Party candidate, will face Gioia, the Democratic/Working Families Party standard bearer.

FERRER MAKES A MOVE: Finally there is a sign of significant activity in Democratic candidate Fernando Ferrer’s campaign with the news he will launch a television advertising campaign and that he’s been endorsed by city Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr., the only black holding citywide office and one of the most well respected members of his race.

Another Democratic mayoral candidate, Council Speaker Gifford Miller, also has plans to do some TV advertising in the week preceding the September 13 primary.

Both moves come after a long string of mayoral election polls won by Mayor Michael Bloomberg over the past month or so, which stamped him as the definite leader of the candidate pack in his bid for re-election.

The mayor, who’s got the most campaign cash available, launched a TV ad blitz in May, some of it in Spanish, and it appears to have paid off, judging from his meteoric rise in the polls last month. At the same time, Ferrer lost ground to the mayor, although he never lost any of his lead over his Dem rivals in the primary field, Council Speaker Gifford Miller, Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields and Queens/Brooklyn Congressmember Anthony Weiner.

The only sour note for Ferrer last week was the report that he appeared to have lost some support among Hispanic voters. If the number of voters slipping away is accurate and the voters do not return or are not replaced, the results could be deadly for Ferrer, a Hispanic who is depending on a strong Hispanic vote in both the primary and general elections to win City Hall.

Meanwhile, Miller has arranged for TV time for the week prior to the September 13 primary for a last-ditch advertising campaign to put him over the top in the primary. It’s not known if he’ll take to the airwaves prior to that. Also, there’s no word whether Weiner or Fields will do any TV advertising, although a minimal effort can be expected.

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