While Smith is “focusing on governing,” Vanel has jump-started his campaign with a $100,000 loan to provide the “infrastructure of the campaign.”
“We wanted to start off strong,” he said.
He is seeking to maintain his campaign office and purchase voter information software, among other things.
Vanel, who previously ran for City Council, said the senate district is “much bigger” and “we need resources to start the campaign the right way.”
He hopes to raise $350,000 as election season continues. With the $350,000, he will pay back the loan and spend $250,000 on his campaign.
Regarding his own race, the incumbent Smith said “the time for campaigning is later.” Despite an indictment on corruption charges, to which Smith plead not guilty, he hopes to reclaim the seat he has held for 13 years.
“I don’t think there was ever any doubt the senator would run,” said a spokesperson for the embattled legislator.
Vanel, a Cambria Heights business attorney, and Avery, a Queens Village estates attorney, both criticized Smith for his involvement with the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), a group of Democrats who govern with Republicans.
However, after Smith’s indictment in April, the IDC dropped him.
“The senator is a Democrat and he will be running as a Democrat,” the spokesperson said, but added he “is no stranger to crossing party lines in order to work with everyone.”
Smith is “focused on the budget and making sure southeast Queens receives the adequate share of resources for schools and jobs creation,” he said in a statement.