With control of the State Senate likely going to be decided by a few key races throughout the state, Republican candidate Anthony Como believes he can deliver his party a seat by defeating incumbent Democratic State Senator Joseph Addabbo.
“The numbers look great for us,” Como said. “We’re confident where we stand financially, and at this point, the more people we come in contact with they’re hearing our message more and more.”
Como, who served a short stint as a City Councilmember in District 30 in 2008, is facing an uphill battle against Addabbo, who also served two stints in the City Council before being elected to the State Senate in November 2008, in the District 15 State Senate race in southern and western Queens.
In the 2008 election, Addabbo defeated longtime Republican State Senator Serphin Maltese, who has served as Como’s mentor and has been active in his campaign this year, by more than 10,000 votes – a 57 percent to 43 percent margin. Addabbo said he is employing the same campaign strategy this year that contributed to his victory against Maltese.
“It’s a blueprint that we used in ’08 knocking on doors, being at train stations and really connecting with the people,” Addabbo said. “The feedback has been great.”
During the past week, Addabbo has been fighting off a barrage of attacks from Como’s camp about the Inspector General report detailing widespread corruption surrounding the Aqueduct Entertainment Group, one of the original bidders for the Aqueduct Racino project.
State Inspector General Joseph Fisch alleged that the selection of AEG by Governor David Paterson, State Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson, Senate President Pro Temp Malcolm Smith and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in January 2009, was made without proper lobbying restrictions.
“It’s really quite simple, either you knew what was going on and you were in on it or you didn’t know what was going on and you failed,” Como said.
Addabbo defended his role in the process, which he said was originally proposed by Pataki’s regime, saying that his sole focus throughout has been trying to get the best deal for his constituents so that money and jobs can come into the community.
“He’s taking the voters of the 15th Senate District for idiots,” Como said. “It’s embarrassing to himself and embarrassing to every constituent who lives in the 15th Senate District.”
During his first term in office, Addabbo said that the state faced an unprecedented fiscal crisis, and the legislators had to make difficult and oftentimes painful decisions to cut funding to important organizations. Although Albany, and particularly the State Senate, has received much criticism for being a model of dysfunction and chaos during the past two years, Addabbo said the state has made progress.
“The transparency and accountability did get better, and we have a long way to go before we can realize our potential,” Addabbo said.
However, Como disagrees, saying that it’s time to give someone else a chance to reform state government.
“People basically understand the fact that the bums have to go,” Como said. “It’s time to throw them out.”
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