County Dems pick some surprise candidates

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There were major surprises when the Queens County Democratic Party made its choices for this year’s elections.

The powerful organization threw its support behind all incumbents seeking reelection and also endorsed Michael Gianaris and Tony Avella for State Senate and Ed Braunstein, Aravella Simotas and Francisco Moya for Assembly.

The party chose Braunstein over nearly a half dozen Democrats who had expressed interest in the northeast Queens Assembly District 26 seat that is being vacated by Ann Margaret Carrozza, who is not seeking reelection.

“Winning the trust and faith of the Queens County organization means a lot to me, and I look forward to working hard from now until Election Day to justify their support,” Braunstein said.

A lifelong Queens resident who currently serves on Community Board 11 and works as a legislative assistant to Speaker Sheldon Silver, Braunstein has already received the backing of a number of unions.

It is unclear how many candidates may decide to drop out of the race after not receiving the county’s endorsement, but Steve Behar, who ran for City Council in last year’s Democratic primary, said he will remain in the race.

“I’ve always been a reformer; I’ve also fought for good government, and if there’s any place on the planet that needs a reformer and good government it’s Albany,” Behar said. “The only job that Ed Braunstein has had is with the leadership, and I believe he may be the worst candidate.”

In Assembly District 39, the Democratic Party selected Francisco Moya, a longtime community activist, to fill the seat vacated by Jose Peralta’s move to the State Senate.

“As an insurgent my entire life, it just shows how far we have come here, not just in the community but in the Queens Democratic Party to receive this endorsement,” Moya said. “It’s something that I welcome and am honored to have the support of the party and also Senator Jose Peralta, Councilmember Julissa Ferreras and Councilmember Danny Dromm.”

Michael Reich, the Executive Secretary for the Queens Democratic Party, said that all of the local leaders and party support for Moya also meant something else.

“We’re putting together a coalition that is going to make it very clear that Hiram [Monserrate] has no part in the Democratic Party,” Reich said.

Monserrate has talked about running for the Assembly after his failed bid to retake his Senate seat in a March special election.

SEE ALL OF THE COUNTY’S PICKS BELOW:

COUNTY CHOICES

The following candidates received the backing from the Queens Democratic Party.

Congress

Gary Ackerman – 5th District

Gregory W. Meeks – 6th District

Joseph Crowley – 7th District

Anthony Weiner – 9th District

Nydia M. Velázquez – 12th District

Carolyn Maloney – 14th District

State Senate

Shirley L. Huntley – 10th District

Tony Avella – 11th District

Michael Gianaris – 12th District

Jose Peralta – 13th District

Malcolm Smith – 14th District

Joseph Addabbo – 15th District

Toby Stavisky – 16th District

State Assembly

Grace Meng – 22nd District

Audrey Pheffer – 23rd District

David Weprin – 24th District

Rory Lancman – 25th District

Ed Braunstein – 26th District

Nettie Mayersohn – 27th District

Andrew Hevesi – 28th District

William Scarborough – 29th District

Margaret Markey – 30th District

Michele Titus – 31st District

Vivian Cook – 32nd District

Barbara Clark – 33rd District

Michael Den Dekker – 34th District

Jeffrion Aubry – 35th District

Aravella Simotas – 36th District

Catherine Nolan – 37th District

Mike Miller – 38th District

Francisco Moya – 39th District