Sabini Wins Primary; Padavan-Marino Race Heats Up
An official Board of Elections recount of the voting in the 13th state senate district in the September 12 primary confirmed that state Senator John Sabini defeated City Councilmember Hiram Monserrate by a razor-thin margin in the race for the Democratic nomination.
With no opposition in the November 7 general election, Sabini has a virtual lock on a third term in the senate.
Reacting to the final result, Sabini (D-Jackson Heights) stated he will continue to work with all the members of the community with a unifying spirit.
"I look forward to continuing my work with my constituents and colleagues behind shared goals-an excellent education for our children, affordable and high quality health care and housing; safe, clean streets; and a Democratic-led state senate that is effective and responsive to our needs here in Queens," he said.
Monserrate (D-Corona), in conceding the race to Sabini, declared: "I am proud to have run a grassroots campaign of inclusion and reform that gave our residents a voice in the future of their community. I look forward to continuing my work to deliver resources and results to the residents and families of Queens in the city council."
Following the Primary Day voting, Monserrate had requested a count of all paper ballots after the votes that were counted on the voting machines showed Sabini led by slightly over 200 votes.
With all the recounting having been done, the Board of Elections announced last Tuesday that Sabini's final lead was 248 votes.
The election in the 13th senate district, which covers Jackson Heights, Corona, Elmhurst and East Elmhurst, was a furious battle between two elected officials with good records. Sabini has served the area as a community and political activist for about 25 years, 10 years as a city councilmember and four in the senate. Monserrate, an ex-cop, took over Sabini's council seat in 2001 when Sabini was forced out by term limits.
A reapportionment of the district about that time made the enclave slightly over 50 percent Hispanic. It was predicted before the voting that it was anybody's race, but Sabini, strongly supported by the Queens Democratic organization, nonetheless achieved the victory.
ADA SMITH CONCEDES, TOO: Results of another close primary election were confirmed by a Board of Elections recount. Veteran state Senator Ada Smith, suffered a stunning defeat at the hands of Jamaica education activist Shirley L. Huntley.
Smith, 61, lost to Huntley, 68 by about 500 votes, the recount confirmed, ending her stormy and controversial 18-year senate career. Smith had had numerous runins with capital police and was the subject of several abuse complaints made by her staff members, some of which led to disciplinary action against her.
Smith's departing statement was polite and kind, somewhat out-of-character with her public perception during her career. She said she would leave the senate with sadness and hoped "the many issues we have championed and all of the programs we have instituted will be a testimony to all of our hard work."
Huntley will face Republican Jereline Hunter in the November 7 election.
MARINO ATTACKS PADAVAN: Little Neck attorney Nora Marino is lashing out at "Albany dysfunction" in her campaign against state Senator Frank Padavan (R-C, Bellerose), placing the blame on Republican control in the state capital and Padavan's support of the GOP leaders, Governor George Pataki and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.
Padavan, who's completing his 33rd year in the senate, retorted, "I vote what's best for my district. I do what I think is right for my district," and says the New York Times once described him as the "most independent" lawmaker in the senate.
Marino, a Democrat, also charges Padavan has not done enough for the environment nor defended a women's well being and right to choose.
Responding to her charge that Padavan is "against abortion-except in cases of rape, incest, or serious health risk to the mother," Padavan snapped back. "That's the only thing she got right in that whole release."
On the envir o n m e n t Padavan notes he's been endorsed by the Sierra Club and Environmental Advocates of New York, two of the most influential friends of the environment organizations.
He also notes his longstanding efforts on behalf of the Alley Pond Environmental Center and the Northeast Queens Historic and Preservation Commission, both of which he helped to create and his work to preserve Udalls Cove.
As for Marino's charge that Padavan was one of only 10 senators to vote against the Women's Health and Wellness Act, he readily admits that this is true. Catholic officials throughout the state were against the bill because it would force Catholic health, education and charitable institutions to purchase contraception insurance, which was a direct violation of Catholic teaching, which he opposed. Padavan said, "So of course I voted against it."
Padavan also cited his record in helping in the fight against cancer on numerous occasions and his efforts against domestic violence and other women's abuses.
Marino will be repeating all these positions against Padavan at an appearance tomorrow night, Thursday, September 28 at 8 p.m. at the Il Bacco Restaurante, 25308 Northern Blvd., Little Neck.
CONSERVATIVES SEEK VOLS: Queens Conservatives will hold a meeting tomorrow night at 8 p.m. at the American Legion Continental Post 1424 at 107-15 Metropolitan Ave. in Forest Hills. They have sent out an open invitation for anyone who wants to volunteer to help their candidates for governor and U.S. Senator, John Faso and John Spencer, respectively.
Queens Conservative Chairman Tom Long said volunteers who give out campaign literature or make telephone calls are very important, especially to underdog candidates such as Faso and Spencer.
"We understand that the odds are difficult, but that doesn't mean we throw in the towel," Long said.