Simotas Unchallenged For 36th A.D. Seat As Ciafone Quits
Ruled off the ballot in court because he did not meet the residency requirement to run in the 36th Assembly District, John Ciafone has quit the Democratic Party primary race against Aravella Simotas, thereby making her the unchallenged Democratic nominee and, in effect, the next Assembly representative.
Simotas will succeed Assemblymember Michael Gianaris, who opted to run for the state senate seat presently held by George Onorato, who is retiring at the end of the year.
Simotas, an attorney, will be the first woman to hold the seat in the 36th District which covers Astoria and Long Island City.
Ciafone, 40, and also an attorney, said in an interview yesterday that he chose not to challenge the ruling on his residency in the Supreme Court because it would not leave him time to mount an effective campaign if he won and his residency was upheld.
“I made a determination that even if I won on the residency question, the appeal would have taken me into late August, too late for an effective campaign,” Ciafone explained.
Ciafone said he was still considering running against Simotas on the Republican Party line in November, but he conceded there was only an outside chance of that happening.
When Ciafone circulated his nominating petitions, he listed his mother’s address as his own because it is within the 36th AD. The address of the home he occupies with his wife and children is outside the 36th AD.
Ciafone is the second candidate hopeful to quit the race against Simotas. Earlier, Astoria attorney Jeremiah Frei–Pearson was in the field briefly, but then changed his mind.
Simotas entered the race several months ago armed with the backing of the powerful Queens Democratic organization and also that of the Taminent Regular Democratic Club. These huge endorsements, augmented by those of Democcratic office holders and many labor unions made her a formidable candidate.—John Toscano