With an uphill legal battle underway, Councilmember Dan Halloran will not to run for re-election later this year, widening an already crowded race for his seat.
A source close to Halloran originally confirmed the embattled legislator is withdrawing from the race.
“Regrettably, I must now focus my attention on clearing my name and restoring my reputation, while I continue to discharge my sworn duties as a member of the New York City Council,” Halloran said in a statement. “After much thought, I have concluded that it is impossible for me to properly do these things and take on the enormous demands of a political campaign, so I will not to pursue another term in the Council.”
Halloran has maintained his innocence on federal corruption charges alleging he helped a state legislator try to buy his way onto the Republican mayoral ballot. Halloran entered a “not guilty” plea in court last week.
Several Halloran staffers, including his chief of staff and his legislative director, resigned in the days and weeks after Halloran was arrested on April 2. Federal prosecutors accuse Halloran of taking $20,000 in bribes and arranging payouts for GOP bosses in Queens and the Bronx with the aim of getting Democratic State Senator Malcolm Smith the Republican mayoral nomination.
Halloran started focusing on his re-election campaign in District 19 after losing a congressional election for the newly-drawn Congressional District 6 last year. Some political insiders viewed him as a long shot and he had trouble raising funds.
Democratic primary candidate former Assemblymember John Duane, Paul Graziano, Paul Vallone and Austin Shafran announced their candidacies for the District 19 seat prior to Halloran’s arrest last month. Chrissy Voskerichian, Halloran’s former chief of staff, filed papers with the city’s Campaign Finance Board.
Several calls were placed to Voskerichian for comment.
But since then, fellow Republicans have begun to eye the seat. Dennis Saffran, a Douglaston attorney, announced his candidacy last week. The move, backed by the Queens GOP, will likely force a primary.
Since his arrest, Halloran has also come under media scrutiny for an alleged affair with a former staffer while Halloran was still married.
The New York Post subsequently reported Halloran was having an affair with a former intern. The intern was reportedly in Halloran’s home during his early morning arrest. Because Halloran has not immediately stepped down, he is still open to a misconduct investigation by the council on sexual misconduct allegations reported earlier this week.
- Halloran, Smith enter not guilty pleas
- Ex-Councilmember Anthony Como named new Queens GOP executive vice chair
- Race to replace embattled councilmember underway