2005-12-14 / Editorials

Gianaris—Wisely—Chooses To Remain In Assembly Editorial

When a candidate who shows a strong chance of winning suddenly drops out of a campaign, some feelings of letdown inevitably follow. That was the case when Assemblymember Michael Gianaris stepped aside from the race for state attorney general last week.

It is believed by some that the Democrats have a good chance of winning--and retaining--the attorney general’s office being given up by Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer, running for governor, and United States Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton running for re-election, give promise of bringing out a big vote. At the same time, the Democratic primary race to determine a candidate for attorney general promises to be a very competitive affair. Among others, the field includes Andrew Cuomo and Mark Green, both with ample campaign financial support. The result could well be a tough, divisive campaign that might shatter party unity, thereby blowing the attorney general race for the Democrats.

Confronting this picture, Gianaris, still in the early stages of a promising career as a public official, made the sound decision to step aside, run for re-election to the Assembly and await a future opportunity to run for city- or statewide office.

His withdrawal from the attorney general primary race does not in any way signal defeat. One thing Gianaris was able to demonstrate was that he can raise the substantial amounts of money necessary for a major campaign. His fellow Greek–Americans--as well as many other segments of his constituency--have confidence in him, and it will lead them to provide the all-important financial backing necessary for a run for office.

Analyzed from another perspective, the support extended to the 35-year-old lawmaker was affirmation of his contributors’ collective assessment that Gianaris has the qualities and abilities to submit himself to the public scrutiny of an election campaign and come out a winner.

The Astoria-born and-raised attorney, in only a few years in the Assembly, has offered and won approval of major, significant, top level, cutting-edge legislation dealing with the major concerns of the moment—tightening anti-terrorism security, protecting the environment and cleaning the air his constituents breathe every day. Few lawmakers have shown this ability at such an early stage of their careers. Gianaris’ legislative accomplishments show clearly the respect and high esteem of his Assembly leaders and his colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

At the same time, Gianaris has brought the same verve and energy to his district and community, ever attentive to problems and their solutions in his effort to make his district a pleasanter, safer and healthier place to live.

We respect his judgment in deciding to step out of the race and waiting to do battle another day. In the meantime, we look forward to his continued Assembly career with the expectation of seeing more of the exploits that have brought benefits to Astoria and to New York state as a whole

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