2009-09-02 / Political Page

Late Endorsements May Mean Close Primary Races

With primary elections just 13 days away, several late endorsements which could affect close races were reported last week.

In the expected-to-be close Democratic Party primary in the 25th Council District (Jackson Heights), school teacher and gay advocate Daniel Dromm has received an important endorsement from former Assemblymember Ivan Lafayette.

In choosing Dromm, Lafayette, one of the highest-ranked regular Democratic former office holders in the district, bypassed another longtime regular Democratic official, incumbent Councilmember Helen Sears. For many years both Lafayette and Sears served as Democratic district leaders in Jackson Heights. Lafayette, who served for 32 years in the Assembly before retiring, said he endorsed Dromm after years of working personally with him and also because of Dromm's "commitment and effectiveness on the issues that matter most to me, —better schools, more access to doctors and health care, and improved quality of life".

Dromm also was recently endorsed by the Citizens Union, United Auto Workers and the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys. Also in the 25th district primary is Stanley Joseph Kalathara.

Daniel Dromm, at right, has received an important endorsement from former Assemblymember Ivan Lafayette.
Sears has been in the council for two terms (eight years).

26TH COUNCIL (SUNNYSIDE, WOODSIDE, LONG ISLAND CITY): In the 26th Council District, presently represented by Councilmember Eric Gioia, Democratic primary candidate Jimmy Van Bramer was endorsed by the public service organization Citizens Union, which also endorsed several other candidates who will be listed later on in this column.

Van Bramer also has been  
endorsed by the Working Families  

Party, the municipal labor union DC 37 and several other large labor groups and Democratic City Comptroller candidate Councilmember Melinda Katz.

19TH COUNCIL DISTRICT (BAYSIDE, WHITESTONE, COLLEGE POINT): In this Democratic primary contest, candidate Jerry Iannece picked up a late endorsement from the Uniformed Firefighters' Association.

Also entered in this contest are Paul Vallone, Bayside; Steven Anthony Behar, Oakland Gardens; Thomas E. Cooke, Flushing; Kevin D. Kim, Bayside, and Debra Markell-Kleinert, Whitestone. The seat is presently held by Councilmember Tony Avella, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for mayor. Avella has endorsed Behar.

23RD COUNCIL DISTRICT (HOLLIS): Several highly placed public officials, including Congressmember Gregory Meeks, state Senator Malcolm Smith, Borough President Helen Marshall and former Councilmember Archie Spigner endorsed Assemblymember Mark Weprin in the Democratic primary.

Mark Weprin is seeking to succeed his brother, David, as councilmember representing the 23rd district. David Weprin is running in the city comptroller Democratic primary. Other candidates in the race against

Assemblymember Weprin are Bob Friedrich, Glen Oaks, and Swarinjil Singh, Bellerose. Assemblymember Weprin has served in that office since 1994.

OTHER CITIZEN UNION ENDORSEMENTS: Also endorsed by the prestigious Citizens Union were Kevin Kim (19th District), S.J. Jung (20th District), Leroy Comrie (27th District) and Lynn Schulman (29th District).

38TH AD DEM CANDIDATE OFF BALLOT: Farouk Samaroo, an Army veteran from Richmond Hill who circulated nominating petitions for what the Board of Elections said would be a Democratic Party primary on September 15, will not be on the ballot because there will be no Democratic primary that day.

Instead, there will be a special election in the 38th Assembly District (Ozone Park/Richmond Hill/Woodhaven), to fill the seat vacated recently by Assemblymember Tony Seminerio, who pleaded guilty to fraud charges.

Governor David Paterson called for the special election, for which candidates can be chosen only by established political parties or run as independents. The Brooklyn federal court judge who heard Samaroo's case said Samaroo can run as an independent, but Samaroo did not accept the offer.

Democrats, who will be favored to win the special election because of the overwhelming voter registration in the 38th AD, have chosen Michael Miller as their candidate.

Republicans chose Donna Marie Caltabiana of Woodhaven as their candidate. She will also have the Conservative Party ballot line.

Albert Baldeo, an Ozone Park attorney, had also planned to run in the originally scheduled 38th AD Democratic primary, but it was not known whether he will run in the special election as an independent.

Samaroo, 26, served in Afghanistan.

NON-ASIAN CANDIDATES BATTLE: The two non-Asian candidates in the 20th Council District Democratic primary in Flushing are in a battle. Constantine Kavadas, a 27-year-old Greek-American, was knocked off the ballot by Isaac Sasson, who's using some of the $13 million he won in the state lottery to fund his campaign.

A judge ruled Kavadas and some campaign aides fraudulently secured signatures on nominating petitions and dumped him from the September 15 ballot. Kavadas is now taking that decision to an appeals court.

Kavadas charged Sasson was targeting his Greek-American background and wanted him off the ballot to enhance his chances as the only non-Asian on the ballot. The other four candidates running for the seat being vacated by Councilmember John Liu are S. J. Jung, Yen Chou, John Choe and James Wu.

CANDIDATE FORUMS: Several community organizations are sponsoring a forum tonight at 7 p.m. at the Officers Club at Fort Totten for Democratic primary candidates seeking the 19th Council District seat in Bayside.

On Thursday evening at 7 p.m., the Young Democrats and Young Republicans at St. John's University will host a forum for city comptroller candidates in the Democratic primary.

LIBRARY REPAIR FUNDS: Councilmember Eric Ulrich (R- C, Howard Beach) has secured $1 million of city funds to make needed repairs to local libraries in Broad Channel, Ozone Park and Howard Beach.

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