2010-10-27 / Features

Cuomo Set To Lead Dem Sweep Here

BY JOHN TOSCANO

Congressmember Gary Ackerman is one of the many incumbent Dems that seem immune from the Tea Party bug. Congressmember Gary Ackerman is one of the many incumbent Dems that seem immune from the Tea Party bug. It’s supposed to be a Republican year as far as the elections are concerned, but while it might be a Republican year elsewhere in the country, that doesn’t seem to be the case here in Queens and across the state.

Andrew Cuomo looks like a sure bet, and although the Republican candidates for attorney general and comptroller have great credentials, the polls have shown steadily that Democrats will prevail statewide.

That, of course, applies to the U.S. Senate races where Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand look like winning re-election is a sure thing. Gillibrand’s opponent, Joseph DioGuardi (R–C), looked like he had a shot early in the campaign, but Gillibrand kept fighting back and appears to be home free right now.

On the local scene, no incumbent Democrat in Congress seems to be in any trouble. Congressmembers Gary Ackerman, Gregory Meeks, Joseph Crowley, Anthony Weiner, Nydia Velasquez and Carolyn Maloney all seem immune from the Tea Party bug and other problems that are threatening other Democrats and party control of the House and the Senate.

A third new Democratic candidate, Edward Braunstein, above, would have to defeat his Republican challenger, Vince Tabone, in the 26th AD contest to keep the score of 18 seats and 18 Democrats the same. A third new Democratic candidate, Edward Braunstein, above, would have to defeat his Republican challenger, Vince Tabone, in the 26th AD contest to keep the score of 18 seats and 18 Democrats the same. As for the state senate, the borough’s six incumbent Democrats should return to help the party retain the majority in that house. The same can be said about the lone Republican senator, Frank Padavan, who should fend off his challenger, former City Councilmember Tony Avella.

In the Assembly, the present all-Democrat Queens delegation of 18 members should be returning, although some new faces could fill the ranks.

Padavan had a tough time two years ago defeating City Councilmember James Gennaro, but Avella hasn’t been able to generate the same intensity, so Padavan seems headed for another victory. Padavan had a tough time two years ago defeating City Councilmember James Gennaro, but Avella hasn’t been able to generate the same intensity, so Padavan seems headed for another victory. Checking out the 18-member delegation, 15 incumbent Dems are running for re-election and look like sure winners. Two new Democratic candidates also look like winners.

A third new Democratic candidate, Edward Braunstein, would have to defeat his Republican challenger, Vince Tabone, in the 26th AD contest to keep the score of 18 seats and 18 Democrats the same.

Braunstein and Tabone are tangling over the Bayside seat held by Ann Margaret Carrozza, who did not seek re-election.

Summing up, Queens had six Democratic Congressmembers, six of seven state senators, and 18 Assemblymembers during the 2010 session. There’s a very good chance those numbers will change when the elections are completed Tuesday night.

Going back to the top of the ticket, Andrew Cuomo, the current attorney general, should emerge as the winner over Carl Paladino in the balloting.

Simply put, Cuomo was ahead of all the GOP competition when the campaign started, had the huge Democratic edge over Republican voters, and made no mistakes.

Paladino, a 64-year-old Buffalo millionaire developer, gained some traction when he stole the GOP gubernatorial nomination away from Rick Lazio, but started downhill shortly after.

Paladino made an unbroken series of outrageous statements that he couldn’t back up. Meanwhile, political reporters were stumbling over themselves unearthing stories of how Paladino applied the pay-to-play formula for government contracts to help build his fortune, all while he was attacking others for doing the same thing. Paladino’s descent has been so complete that recent polls taken less than two weeks before the election found him behind Cuomo by a range of 35 to 37 points.

Paladino may be so far behind by the time the voting starts next Tuesday that he may hurt the chances of other Republican contenders in statewide races. Chief among these are Harry Wilson, who’s challenging Tom DiNapoli for the state comptroller spot, and Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan, a Republican candidate who has a chance to defeat Democrat Eric Schneiderman in the attorney general contest.

Wilson, a 38-year-old financial wiz immediately made an impression on Wall Street saving distressed companies. He also had a hand in saving General Motors when President Barack Obama appointed him to the team given that assignment.

Despite DiNapoli having no background in high finance and his being appointed comptroller as a replacement for Alan Hevesi, the polls have him ahead because of his incumbency and Wilson’s inability to gain name recognition, an admittedly difficult task. Nevertheless, Wilson has been endorsed by several major newspapers as well as the Citizens Union.

Donovan’s case is similar, although he doesn’t tower over his opponent as much as Wilson does. It would help if he could get some help from the top of the ticket.

In the congressional races, Republican challengers have made little headway against incumbents, although Robert Turner, a reputed millionaire facing Weiner, made his presence known in the race by staging an ad blitz in the Forest Hills/Rego Park area.

Weiner has been able to keep Turner at bay at community meetings and other places where they cross paths along the campaign trail.

In the state senate races, Democratic incumbents Jose Peralta, Malcolm Smith, Joseph Addabbo and Toby Ann Stavisky have not been threatened by their opponents as their campaigns unfolded.

Meanwhile, Michael Gianaris is attempting to win a state senate seat for the first time, after distinguishing himself from many of his colleagues in the Assembly, where he has served for the past decade.

Gianaris is running for the 12th senate district seat in Astoria left vacant by George Onorato’s retirement. He is opposed by newcomer Jerome Patrick Tina Jr., but Gianaris’ high name recognition and impressive record in the Assembly should make him the winner.

The lone Republican office holder in all of Queens for many years, Senator Frank Padavan, does not appear to be threatened by challenger Tony Avella, former councilmember from the Bayside–College Point area.

Padavan, who’s closing in on four decades representing Northeast Queens in the state senate, not only has the loyalty of Republican/Conservative voters, but also many Democratic registrants have been attracted to him during his 38 years in the senate.

Padavan had a tough time two years ago defeating City Councilmember James Gennaro (D–Fresh Meadows), but Avella hasn’t been able to generate the same intensity, so Padavan seems headed for another victory.

We alluded previously in this article to the Ed Braunstein-Vince Tabone contest for the 26th AD seat in Bayside and adjacent areas.

The victories of a trio of Republican winners of City Council seats in Flushing and Bayside last year encouraged Tabone to think he could take this seat after incumbent Carrozza decided to retire while facing questions about violating residency requirements. Tabone helped to publicize that issue, which in turn was a factor in Carrozza’s retiring.

However, the political climate in Bayside changed as Democrats healed the split which was largely responsible for Republican Dan Halloran winning the local city council seat last year. Braunstein, who worked on Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s staff for several years, was a surprise entrant in the race and the unity movement among the Democrats was all he needed to have a winning chance in this race.

There’s still a possibility that the resurgence of a Republican presence in the area, created by last year’s council victory, might give Tabone a chance to gain a victory here. Before Carrozza won the Assembly seat, Doug Prescott, a Republican, held it for 14 years between 1981 and 1996. The area also gave Rudy Giuliani solid support in his mayoral victories. A Tabone victory against Braunstein wouldn’t be a total surprise.

The Assembly race matchups in Queens on Tuesday, (with Democratic incumbents listed first, are: 23rd AD/Rockaway—Audrey Pheffer vs. Harold Paez; 24th AD/Great Neck-David Weprin vs. Bob Friedrich (C) and Timothy Furey (R); 28th AD (Forest Hills)Andrew Hevesi vs. Aleksander Powietrzynski (R–C) and Joseph Tiraco (Independence); 30th AD (Maspeth)-Margaret Markey vs. Anthony Nunziato (R–C–Independence); 37 AD (Ridgewood)–Catherine Nolan vs. John Kevin Wilson (R); 38th AD (Woodhaven)-Michael Miller vs. Donna Marie Caltabiano (R–C).

Democrats running without opposition include Grace Meng (Flushing), Rory Lancman (Fresh Meadows), Nettie Mayersohn (Flushing), William Scarborough (Jamaica), Michele Titus (South Ozone Park), Vivian Cook (Jamaica), Barbara Clark (Queens Village), Michael DenDekker (Jackson Heights), Jeffrion Aubry (East Elmhurst), Aravella Simotas (Astoria) and Francisco Moya (Corona).

Simotas and Moya are first-time office seekers.

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