Tag Archives: primary

Incumbent Tony Avella wins state Senate race against John Liu


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Anika Chowdury

State Sen. Tony Avella won the primary for the 11th state Senate district against his challenger John Liu in a hotly contested race Tuesday night.

Avella appeared at CJ Sullivan’s in Bayside at 10:30 p.m. that evening with his wife Judith to announce his victory to a room full of supporters and staffers.

“This victory happened because of all you guys,” he said to a roaring crowd. “It takes a lot of money to win. It shouldn’t be that way, but that’s how it is. I’ve never been with a better bunch of people who care about this state and I thank you all.”

According to unofficial results, with 95.4 percent of the precincts reporting, Avella had 6,813 votes, or 52.2 percent of the votes, and Liu received 6,245, or 47.8 percent. While Avella declared victory, Liu didn’t think he lost.

“I feel very proud about this campaign. I’m confident that the Board of Elections will get the fair results, no matter how long that takes,” Liu said.

After serving as city councilman for Queens from 2002 to 2009, Avella stepped down to run an unsuccessful campaign for mayor in 2009. He ran and won for state senator the following year.

Avella has represented the area for 12 years and received several endorsements, including police and fire unions and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Avella kicked off primary day in the morning by voting in P.S. 184 Flushing Manor.

“Our support has been incredibly positive and when the polls close, we are confident that our campaign will be victorious,” Avella said earlier in the evening. “Voters understand that this race boils down to which candidate they trust to uphold this office with honor and integrity, and John Liu doesn’t pass the laugh test on either account.”

On issues like airplane noise and property taxes, the two agree.

But during the race, Liu sold himself as a “real Democrat” and criticized Avella for joining the Independent Democratic Caucus (IDC). During debates, Liu argued that Avella prevented major legislation — like increasing the minimum wage — in New York from being passed by creating an alliance with Republican state senators.

Avella’s choice to join the IDC led the Queens Country Democrats to convince Liu to run against him, according to the New York Daily News. During a debate in Flushing this summer, Avella responded to Liu’s criticism and said that he joined the IDC to pass important legislation by working with both parties instead of getting caught up in internal political battles.

Because of Avella’s decision to join the IDC, Liu received the backing of the Queens Democratic Party and most of its elected officials as well as several unions. Despite all of this support, Avella still won the race.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Stavisky, Markey, Sanders win primary


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photos

Three incumbent Queens elected officials have easily taken the win in the Democratic primary.

State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, who was first elected to the state Senate in 1999 and is the only female member of the state Senate from Queens, won the race with 4,981 votes, holding onto 57.3 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results.

The Forest Hills resident ran against S.J. Jung, a Flushing resident, activist and president of the MinKwon Center for Community Action.

Assemblywoman Margaret Markey also won the primary with 1,880 votes and 75.2 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results. She has represented the 30th Assembly District, comprised of Maspeth, Woodside and parts of Long Island City, Middle Village, Astoria and Sunnyside, since 1998.

In the race for the 10th District, state Sen. James Sanders Jr., who was elected in 2012, took the win with 5,898 votes and 74.5 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results.

Photo via Twitter/@tobystavisky

Photo via Twitter/@tobystavisky

In other statewide elections, incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo easily defeated his two competitors at 61.7 percent with 93.2 percent of the precincts reporting, according to unofficial results. His running mate, lieutenant governor candidate Kathy Hochul, also took the win with 59.7 percent of the votes. 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Partly to mostly cloudy. High 36. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph. Tuesday Night: Cloudy with heavy snow developing late. Low around 30. Winds ENE at 10 to 20 mph. Snow accumulating 3 to 5 inches.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Get The Picture

Alan Richards, a professional audiologist, displays his artistic photo manipulations through May 4. Queens Botanical Garden admission is free until April 1, and the exhibit can be viewed Tuesdays to Saturdays, from 8 am to 4 pm. From April 1 through May 4, Tuesdays to Sundays, the exhibit can be seen from 8 am until 5:30pm. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Woman fatally struck by MTA bus in Jackson Heights

A woman was struck and killed by an MTA bus in Jackson Heights Monday evening. Read more: The Queens Courier 

 NY Senate GOP introduces bill for August primary

Republicans in the state Senate have filed a bill to move primary day to late August, highlighting a lingering disagreement with legislative Democrats. Read more: NBC New York

Medical marijuana study should start within year: NY health commish

New York’s health commissioner told lawmakers on Monday that he expects the state trial of medical marijuana to be up and running within a year. Read more: New York Post 

De Blasio makes debut on “The Daily Show”

Bill de Blasio took part in a New York City political rite of passage Monday, appearing on a late night talk show to tout his record and poke fun at a few gaffes that have provided fodder for comics during his first month as mayor. Read more: NBC New York

FDA launches $600 million anti-teen-smoking campaign

The Food and Drug Administration is using ads that depict yellow teeth and wrinkled skin to show the nation’s at-risk youth the costs associated with cigarette smoking. Read more: AP

 

Paul Vallone claims victory in contentious District 19 race


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Attorney Paul Vallone declared he came out on top in a contentious Democratic primary race to replace scandal-scarred Councilmember Dan Halloran.

Vallone defeated his four opponents by taking about 31 percent of the vote on September 10, according to unofficial results.

With nearly 99 percent of precincts reporting, Vallone won 2,723 votes, while runner-up candidate Austin Shafran received 2,579 votes, according to unofficial tallies.

“There’s so much that goes through your mind on a day like today,” said Vallone, 46. “You prepare all your life for this. Its times like this I want to start tearing up, but my wife said, ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it.’ But you can’t help but to be inspired.”

Shafran, who trails by about 140 votes, said he was not conceding.

“Voting rights are sacred and we will use every legal remedy that’s available to ensure that the votes of every member of our community are fairly and fully counted,” he said.

The field that included Chrissy Voskerichian, Paul Graziano and John Duane was crowded long before the district’s Republican incumbent was arrested in April on corruption charges that rocked the district and stunned the city.

Only two candidates — Dennis Saffran, the race’s sole Republican candidate, and Voskerichian, who quit her job as Halloran’s chief of staff — threw their hats in the ring after the lawmaker’s indictment.

The race grew contentious in the last few weeks of the campaign when three of the candidates were targeted in mailers paid for by Jobs for New York, a political action committee that endorsed Vallone.

Austin Finan, a spokesperson for Vallone’s campaign, said candidates, by law, have no control over outside spending. PACs can spend as much money as they want on behalf of candidates but cannot coordinate with them.

The fuming candidates still tied the attacks to Vallone, calling the hit pieces “one of the worst mudslinging campaigns” the district has ever seen.

They then each grilled Vallone publicly during a televised debate and called on him to denounce the smear campaign pieces.

Vallone, the Queens Democratic Party pick, was also slammed by his opponents in forums before that for being a registered lobbyist.

At his victory party in Bayside, he said his message about keeping a positive campaign never changed.

“It was never about being negative, and there are a lot of candidates that did that, but that’s their choice to do that,” Vallone said. “The people that came out today said, ‘Paul, we know you. You’re a man of honor, you’re a family man.’”

Halloran, one of only two Republican councilmembers in Queens, pleaded not guilty to bribing GOP officials to get Democratic State Senator Malcolm Smith on the Republican mayoral ticket.

He said in May he would not seek re-election to focus clearing his name.

Vallone will face off with Saffran in the November general election.

Additional reporting by Liam La Guerre

Rory Lancman wins landslide victory in District 24


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Twitter

Former Assemblymember Rory Lancman swept his Democratic primary race Tuesday and moved one step further to winning an open City Council seat.

Lancman, 44, won the District 24 Democratic primary in a landslide victory on September 10.

The Fresh Meadows attorney beat out his opponents, Andrea Veras and Mujib Rahman, with nearly 62 percent of votes, according to unofficial election results.

“It’s very satisfying that so many people who I represented when I was in the State Assembly thought I did a good enough job there to give me the chance to serve them in the City Council at a time when all of New York City government is turning over,” Lancman said.

He will face off with Republican candidate Alex Blishteyn, who is also a Fresh Meadows attorney, in the November general election.

The winner will represent parts of central Queens in City Hall. The seat is being vacated by term-limited Councilmember James Gennaro.

Lancman was elected to the New York State Assembly in 2006. He pledged not to seek re-election last year while running for Congress — later losing his bid for Capitol Hill in the Democratic primary.

Flushing Democrat Paul Graziano officially starts District 19 campaign


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Paul Graziano

A Flushing urban planner officially joined District 19’s City Council race while another candidate bowed out.

Democrat Paul Graziano kicked off his campaign on March 25 at Bowne Park to unseat Republican incumbent Councilmember Dan Halloran.

“My campaign is very simple. Protect your neighborhood. Do no harm,” said Graziano, a lifelong North Flushing resident. “It’s hard for me to think about theoretical and esoteric problems when we’ve got problems at hand in the community.”

The 41-year-old community activist was surrounded by family, friends and dozens of civic leaders Sunday when he announced his plans to preserve the neighborhood from overdevelopment, protect city parkland and ensure a better education system citywide.

Graziano also called for a “reconstituted” Board of Education with more borough subdivisions. He said the move would allow local school districts to operate independently and give communities a voice in the city’s decision-making process.

“It’s really important to make sure that we have an agenda that focuses on the needs of this community as well as, really, things that are crossing the entire city in importance,” Graziano said. “When we’re in a situation where I think every neighborhood feels embattled by the kinds of things that are happening, we have to stand up and do something about it.”

The Council hopeful faces a Democratic primary with former Assemblymember John Duane, Austin Shafran — the former vice president of public affairs for Empire State Development under Governor Andrew Cuomo — and attorney Paul Vallone, who is the son of former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. and brother of Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.

Democratic State Committeeman Matthew Silverstein dropped out of the race Sunday, citing “one of the most difficult years” of his life after his mother passed away last December.

“My mom was an amazing woman who wanted me to continue fighting for the issues I care about. However, after consulting with my friends and family, I have decided to suspend my campaign,” Silverstein said. “This campaign might be ending, but I am not going away. I will continue to advocate for the issues that are important to me.”

Silverstein had long set his sights on the seat, registering his campaign committee last May.

The Democratic primary winner will square off in November with Halloran, who was elected to the Council in 2009.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Clark defeats Vanel in Assembly District 33


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

clark

Assembly hopeful Clyde Vanel only garnered 37 percent of the vote against incumbent Barbara Clark, who took primary night with 63 percent.

Winner Clark thanked her constituents and immediately returned her focus to fixing issues in her district.

“I am gratified by the voters’ continued support of my service and record,” said Clark.

The incumbent also mentioned her desire to fix issues regarding incorrect polling site information, eliminating the chaos and confusion that surrounded the primary.

“[It] demonstrated that reducing the number of polling sites and increasing the number of voters assigned to those schools within cafeterias or gyms that are too small to accommodate the larger numbers of voters will not work,” said Clark.

“Elections are fun, they’re interesting and they’re emotional, so we went through all the range of emotions,” said Vanel. “We got a lot of good feedback from the community.”

Vanel said that going against an incumbent is difficult but it’s not impossible.

The contender had roughly 80 volunteers knocking on doors, handing out literature and combing poll sites the day of the election. Vanel said his group also shuttled nearly 200 people to their correct poll sites, after confusion about locations and addresses became a deterrent in getting people out to vote.

He called the incident a “severe form of voter suppression.”

Vanel said his next steps are to organize the community for the presidential election.

The loss, Vanel said, has not soured him to politics.

 

Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Today’s Forecast

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 82. South wind 6 to 11 mph. Friday night: Scattered showers, mainly after 2am. Partly cloudy, with a low around 65. South wind 7 to 9 mph becoming west after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent.

Event of the Day: A Tribute to Lena Horne and Nina Simone

Seven-time MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) Winner, Natalie Douglas in a tribute to singing legends Lena Horne and Nina Simone at York College Performing Arts Center. To reserve free tickets please call (212) 575 7660 or email CPAS@hainyc.org. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens Primary Election Coverage

Sanders defeats indicted incumbent Huntley in State Senate primary

Six-time incumbent Stavisky claims victory over Messer in primary

Kim takes 40th District race by less than 200 votes

Messer refuses to give up fight

Nily Rozic bests Jerry Iannece in 25th District race

Ulrich wins primary, set to face Addabbo in November

Incumbent Miller defeats newcomer in 38th District

Drifter nabbed in rape of 73-year-old woman in Central Park has disturbing criminal history

A deviant drifter with a terrifying rap sheet that includes two sex attacks on elderly women was charged Thursday with the rape of a 73-year-old bird watcher in Central Park. Three rookie cops caught Appalachian ex-con David Albert Mitchell, 42, strolling down an upper West Side street, and the victim later picked him out of a lineup. Read more: Daily News

Investigators look into whether mole helped Libyan terrorists

Investigators are probing whether a mole helped Libyan terrorists attack the U.S. Consulate — where no Marines were on guard. The raiders met with such little resistance that, after seizing control of the one-story villa in a mere 15 minutes, they unleashed a second assault on a nearby safe house, officials in the U.S. and Libya said Thursday. Read more: Daily News

Man who ran on field during Santana’s no-hitter fined $5K, gets 100 hours of community service

A die-hard New York Mets fan who ran onto Citi Field during Johan Santana’s no hitter celebration pleaded guilty to day and will have to pay up for his overzealous behavior.Rafael Diaz, 32, was ordered by a Queens judge to hand over $4,000 in civil penalties to the Mets, $1,000 to the city, perform 100 hours of community service and must not visit Citi Field for one year. Read more: NY Post

Six-time incumbent Stavisky claims victory over Messer in primary


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Incumbent State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky will fight to keep her seat in the general election after claiming victory in the highly contentious District 16 primary race last week.

“I think we sent a positive message that there are issues that are important to us as Democrats,” Stavisky said during her victory party at the Sheraton Hotel in Flushing. “The people I really want to thank are the voters out there. You’re the ones to whom I report, to whom I’m accountable, and I will be forever grateful to the people of the 16th Senate District.”

Stavisky beat out her rival, attorney John Messer from Oakland Gardens, by winning 58 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results as of 1 a.m. on September 13 when 100 percent of precincts were reporting.

The six-time incumbent garnered 4,940 votes while her opponent took in 3,575, unofficial results showed.

But it was not a fight easily conceded.

Messer, at his own primary party in Woodside, refused to back down, believing he was the favored candidate in at least 75 percent of precincts. He said poll numbers were perplexing.

“It just doesn’t make any sense to me,” Messer said. “We went to certain poll sites where certain poll site workers would come out and say, ‘By the way, everyone who came in here today was asking for you’ and then we get the numbers and they’re like 50/50.”

The local attorney and small business owner said a hard hit in the south Flushing neighborhood of Electchester — a Stavisky-favored area — caused his influence to dwindle at local polls, but he said his lawyers will be looking into a possible recount, consulting with judges to see if an order can issue a second look at the votes.

“We inspired so many people and brought so many people into the process,” Messer said. “I don’t want the people who are behind us and who really want a change to get disappointed. We’re going to still work together to bring out change and bring the communities together.”

The two candidates battled through a heated primary race waged principally on negative campaign attacks. Stavisky said antagonistic literature against her was even being distributed at the 11th hour outside of a poll site in Jackson Heights.

At the pair’s first debate together, Stavisky made a stance that she would not be bullied. She told The Courier, while poll sites were still open, that she’s happy with the campaign she’s conducted.

“I talked about the issues that were important to the voters: education, job creation, services for older Americans, health care. This is what people care about,” she said. “I tried to discuss those issues.”

Stavisky is the first woman from Queens elected to the State Senate. She will face off with Republican J.D. Kim in the November 6 general election.

The newly-redrawn district emcompasses parts of Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Bayside, Oakland Gardens, Rego Park, Elmhurt, Forest Hills and Jackson Heights.

“Let us remember the principles of the Democratic Party, and let’s go on to a big, big victory for everybody in November and the Democratic State Senate,” she said.

— Additional reporting by Alexa Altman

Kim takes 40th District race by less than 200 votes


| brennison@queenscourier.com

KimLee

Ron Kim fought off four other competitors in a tight primary race to secure the Democratic nod in the 40th Assembly District.

Kim collected 27 percent of the 4,182 ballots cast; just 162 votes ahead of second place finisher Yen Chou and 204 more than third place Ethel Chen, according to unofficial results.

Myungsuk Lee finished in fourth, followed by Martha Flores-Vazquez.

“I knew it was going to be tight, so I didn’t want to be watching television all night,” Kim said of the election.

Instead, he closed himself off in a room to write a thank you speech, regardless of the outcome.

“I felt very proud of the race that we ran,” he said.

Finally, at approximately 10:45 p.m. he received a congratulatory call from Chou.

The Queens Democratic Party-backed Kim will now face off against Phil Gim in the general election. Gim bested Sunny Hahn in the September 13 Republican primary by a 74 to 26 percent margin.

“It’s a first step toward a much tougher election,” Gim said late Thursday night.

The lead fluctuated throughout the night between the candidates in the hotly-contested Democratic primary battle for Assemblymember Grace Meng’s seat — who is running for Congress.

Meng did not endorse a candidate for her seat, though she did offer Kim words of support after his victory.

“Congratulations to Ron Kim on a historic, hard-earned and well-deserved victory. Ron’s vast government experience and dedication to public service will well serve the constituents of the 40th Assembly District,” Meng said in a statement. “I look forward to helping Ron win in November and working alongside him in the years to come.”

Though hard fought, the race only brought out approximately 16 percent of registered Democratic voters in the district.

Approximately 400 residents cast votes in the Republican race, 7 percent of the eligible field.

The winners will meet in the November 6 general election.

“I’m confident that as long as I continue to do the campaign that I’ve been doing, we’ll come out on top,” said Kim.

Gim, happy one campaign is behind, said he’s prepared for November.

“We’re ready for the next challenge,” Gim said. “We will put up a very good election fight.”

Messer refuses to give up fight


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

John Messer

It was a fight not easily conceded.

State Senate hopeful John Messer refused to back down after opponent Toby Ann Stavisky reported winning numbers during the primary race for the 16th District. Messer said a hard hit in the south Flushing neighborhood of Electchester — a Stavisky-favored area — caused his influence to dwindle at local polls.

Messer said he found the numbers perplexing and that he believed he was the favored candidate in nearly all precincts. The contender said he brought a large number of new voters to the polls, who may have checked their ballot box with an X instead of filling in the bubble.

The local attorney and small business owner said his lawyers will be looking into a possible recount and are going to consult with judges to see if an order can issue a second look at the votes.

“I believe going into this I wanted to inspire people and I wanted to bring people into the process and when I went around today, everyone was so excited,” said Messer. “It just doesn’t make any sense to me. We went to certain poll sites where certain poll site workers would come out and say by the way everyone who came in here today was asking for you and then we get the numbers and they’re like 50/50. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Messer believes he won 75 percent of the precincts.

“We inspired so many people and brought so many people into the process, I don’t want the people who are behind us and who really want a change to get disappointed. We’re going to still work together to bring out change and bring the communities together.”

Nily Rozic bests Jerry Iannece in 25th District race


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

First-time candidate Nily Rozic of the 25th Assembly District is one step closer to Albany after overtaking her Queens County Democratic Party-backed opponent by close to 500 votes last week, according to unofficial results.

“This campaign reveals the true believers, the true Democrats, the true feminists, the true progressives, the true reformers and really the true believers in the American dream,” Rozic said. “We really did big things tonight.”

The Fresh Meadows Assembly hopeful reigned triumphant by 56 percent over her rival, Community Board 11 Chair Jerry Iannece, who brought in 496 fewer votes. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Rozic raked in 2,245 votes to Iannece’s 1,749, unofficial results showed.

Rozic served as the chief of staff to Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh before setting forth with her dreams to reach the Capitol. At her late night victory party, held at the Sly Fox Inn on Union Turnpike in Fresh Meadows, she called her former boss a “brilliant political mentor.”

“I respect you deeply, more than you probably know. I really mean it when I say I struck gold when I strolled into your office on St. Mark’s Place eight years ago,” Rozic said to Kavanagh, who was in attendance. “I’ll see you in Albany.”

Kavanagh told The Courier the voters of the district made a “resounding choice” in choosing Rozic.

“She’s really somebody who’s proven herself to be someone who cares about the right issues and really cares about her community,” he said. “It’s a great night for this community and certainly a great night for somebody who’s going to be a great leader at the state level.”

Rozic went into the primary touting major endorsements, including those from the New York Times, New York Daily News, Emily’s List, League of Conservation Voters and the Working Families Party.

Iannece, an attorney and longtime community activist from Bayside, had the backing of the Queens County Democratic Party and several of the borough’s elected officials, but his ties with the county may have worked against him in the end, according to Rozic.

“The 25th Assembly District wants someone who’s independent, someone who offers a different perspective and is a fresh voice for our neighborhood,” Rozic said.

But Iannece disagreed, saying the victor won the battle based on “sleazy tactics” and dirty campaigning.

“She went out with wolf packs, bashing me at doors and poll sites, calling me anti-Semitic, handing out literature with fake endorsements from Grace Meng, suppressing my vote in Bayside Hills, calling me a political hack,” Iannece said. “I spent 25 years doing the right thing and this 26 year old, who’s done nothing, comes and bashes me and seizes the day.”

Iannece admitted to getting into a verbal fight with Rozic at a poll site over a mailer she distributed that linked her with Assemblymember Grace Meng, a popular figure in the Asian community.

Meng had endorsed Iannece over Rozic, but the palm card compares the two “strong” women as being both endorsed by the New York Times.

“It was like Pearl Harbor the way we were being attacked at the polls,” Iannece said, adding that he was also being depicted as a “machine” candidate. “I didn’t expect someone to do that vile stuff to another person. How badly do you want to win to do that stuff? That was wrong. I didn’t do that to her. But it worked. People bought that.”

Iannece — who had previously, but unsuccessfully, run for City Council in 2001 and 2009 — said it was highly unlikely for him to seek public office in the future and even to continue his role as a community board chair.

“I haven’t made my mind up yet. It’s still fresh. I’m still very emotional,” he said. “Right now, I’m thinking of packing it in with everything. I’m a little disgusted and discouraged. It’s just the wrong message.”

Rozic will take on Republican community activist Abe Fuchs in the November general election.

The newly-redrawn district mostly encompasses Fresh Meadows and parts of Utopia, Oakland Gardens and Bayside. The seat is currently held by Assemblymember Rory Lancman, who decided not to seek re-election after his failed Congressional primary run in June against Meng.

Incumbent Miller defeats newcomer in 38th District


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

Assemblymember Mike Miller can look forward to at least two more years in Albany with “the best job [he’s] ever had.”

The incumbent assemblymember in the 38th District held off Etienne David Adorno to take the Democratic primary. Miller is running unopposed in the upcoming November general election.

Miller called his time in Albany the best job he’s ever had because of the people he’s been able to help.

“The people spoke and I appreciate their support, because I do it for them,” he said at his Thursday, September 13 victory party in Glendale, surrounded by colleagues from Albany and other politicians from the area.

Unofficial results had Miller taking the election by a 71 to 29 percent margin — with approximately seven percent voter turnout.

The assemblymember first gained office in a Special Election for former Assemblymember Anthony Seminerio’s seat in 2009. Miller was re-elected to a full term the following year.

Miller secured the endorsements of a slew of local politicians including a trio of Latino elected officials in an increasingly Spanish district.

“It was important to get the support of the electeds, but it was more important to get the support of the voters,” Miller said.

Adorno, a member of Community Board 9, said he’s learned a lot from his campaign.

“I learned what my real knack was,” Adorno said. “My knack is to be an integral part of the community and lending a helping hand and a voice whenever [the community] needs it.”

The political newcomer, who ran with a shoestring budget and no endorsements, said he is not through with running for office.

Miller is relieved the campaign is over so he can now worry solely about his assembly work.

“I’ll be back in my office tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. ready to get back to work,” he said.

 

Live Coverage: Queens Primary Day at the races


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

DSC_0546w

7 p.m. 

Members of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association and officials from the United Federation of Teachers hit the streets today campaigning for Assemblymember Mike Miller in the 38th District.

“When an elected official like Mike stands up for his constituents, we hope on election day his constituents stand up for him,” said Dermot Smyth, Queens political action coordinator for the UFT.

With low voter turnout expected for a primary held on a Thursday, Smyth said every teacher in the area was contacted, letting them know to get out and cast a ballot.

“People want legislators to be honest and keep to their word. If they say they’re going to do something and they do it, then we applaud them,” said Edward Boles, treasurer of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association.

Miller said the support of the unions proved he was doing his job.

“If I didn’t fight for the rights of workers, the rights of unionized workers, the rights of workers to make a living and support their families, they wouldn’t be here supporting me.”

6:10 p.m. 

Etienne David Adorno returned to his grade school at P.S. 60 to cast his ballot in the race for the 38th Assembly District seat currently held by Assemblymember Mike Miller.

Adorno, who has traveled throughout the district during the day, said he’s received a great response from voters — something he’s noticed throughout his campaign.

“I’ve had such a large group of young people come out that have never cared about politics and now they actually are following it,” he said.

As Adorno cast his vote at about 4 p.m. he touted not having “strings attached” when he gets to Albany due to a lack of political and union backing.

“I think that once I go to Albany, I’ll be able to accomplish a lot more because I don’t have any strings attached, so it’s not like I won’t be able to speak up on a bill because my endorsers say if you do next year we’ll run someone against you,” he said.

The long-time Woodhaven resident said he’s confidant because of the amount he was able to accomplish in only a few months campaigning.

“If we win the election this year or not, it doesn’t matter, because we won the campaign,” Adorno said. “And there’s always next time.”

5:40 p.m.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” said State Senate contender John Messer as he cast his ballot. “The reception everywhere has been really good.”

Accompanied by wife Wendy and the pair’s three children, Ryan, 10, and 5-year-old twins Alexander and Jackie, the businessman and local attorney filed his vote inside the gymnasium at P.S. 46. Messer is looking to sweep State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky’s spot in the 16th District — a position she has held for the past 13 terms.

By the time Messer cast his ballot at 3:30 p.m., 22 people had already voted at P.S. 46.

Messer’s primary day began around 6 a.m., shuffling mostly around Flushing where he said he has gained a tremendous amount of support.

According to the candidate, feedback from many neighborhoods where he expected his opponent to excel had turned back less-than-stellar turn-out numbers — something Messer believes bodes in his favor.

In the days leading up to the primary election, the candidate’s office received countless phone calls asking about their changed polling sites. To alleviate confusion, Messer decided to send the 6,000 residents who pledged him their vote letters with correct poll site addresses. The note, which was originally just going to be a thank you letter, turned into something the Senate hopeful believes will bring more citizens out to vote.

Messer believes his increased visibility may be the key to winning the race.

“I don’t even have to say who I am,” he said. “People know who I am just by walking by them. It’s positive, even in the areas where my opponent is stronger.  I’m such a cautious guy, but I’m getting a lot of winks, nods and people turning around and giving me the thumbs up.”

5:15 p.m.

Poll workers at P.S. 184 said many voters were upset to arrive only to learn that their poll site had changed.

“One woman could see her house from the site, but we had to send her to St. Andrew’s,” one worker said.

Fifty one poll sites were changed in Queens this year due to redistricting.

The voters that only learned today of the changes said they were upset with the lack of notice.

“I’m not going,” one voter said of her new poll site.

4:30 p.m.

The highly contentious District 16 Senate race remained antagonistic hours before the close of the primary, as negative campaign fliers focused on State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky continue to flutter around poll sites in Jackson Heights, the incumbent candidate said. 

“They’re not from me,” Stavisky said. “I was handed one.”

Stavisky, who has faced a heated battle with her opponent, John Messer, said her camp has refrained from handing out damaging literature of her rival and said she’s happy with the campaign she’s conducted.

“I talked about the issues that were important to the voters: education, job creation, service for older Americans, healthcare. This is what people care about,” she said. “I tried to discuss those issues.”

Stavisky’s campaign workers said the western Queens voter turnout was “not bad.”

More than 110 people had placed their votes at P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights — a new part of Senate District — as of 4:30 p.m., Stavisky said.

But voters have told the senator they’ve been turned away from polling sites.

“That’s the real problem,” Stavisky said. “They’re very upset. They never got a card telling them about [poll site changes]. I know the Board of Elections has a difficult job. I’m not criticizing the Board of Elections. But nevertheless, the bottom line is people are having a hard time finding their polling place.”

– BY MELISSA CHAN

2 p.m.

Assemblymember Mike Miller said there were a few problems at polling sites in the area with residents being turned away.

Some voters were sent to a different polling site only to be sent back to the original site, he said.

“You never want to have that.  They’re coming out to vote; I don’t want them to be disenfranchised,” Miller said.

The assemblymember said his staff is at different sites making sure that if a voter’s name is not at the site, they are given an affidavit ballot.

– BY BILLY RENNISON

 

1 p.m.

Incumbent Assemblymember Mike Miller cast his vote at noon at P.S. 91 in Glendale, down the block from his elementary school, St. Pancras, and is feeling confident.

“It’s an election.  This is people giving an opinion about the job you did. If they vote me out, to them I didn’t do a good job, but I’m pretty confident in the job we’ve done the last three years in the district and people realize that,” Miller said.

The assemblymember said he was happy with the response he was receiving from voters he has spoken to.

The key to this primary day, he said, is the swarms of volunteers that have come out for him.

“I get volunteers because of the commitment I give to people and I get that in return,” Miller said. “These people can be anywhere today. They can be home relaxing, but they’re here — they’re trying to get me re-elected.”

– BY BILLY RENNISON

 

12: 30 p.m.

Councilmember Eric Ulrich and his wife casted their votes for the   Republican primary in Senate District 15 at P.S. 63 in Ozone Park – where Ulrich went to school from kindergarten to fourth grade.

After voting at 10:30 a.m., Ulrich told reporters the mailer attack from Juan Reyes’ campaign was incorrect and offensive to many demographics in the district.

“To use outright bigotry to try to scare voters and outright intimidate voters I think is an absolute disgrace,” Ulrich said.

– BY TERENCE M. CULLEN

 

 

12 p.m.

Assembly hopeful Clyde Vanel, who cast his vote at P.S. 147 around 10 a.m., anxiously awaits the outcome of the race.

“I’m excited and nervous at the same time,” Vanel said around noon. “I can’t wait until it’s over, but it’s exciting.”

The business owner and community advocate, running in the 33rd Assembly District against incumbent Barbara Clark, said getting voters to the polls is always difficult, especially during the primary election. Vanel said a main goal of his campaign was increasing voter participation.

“Many people’s polling sites changed and a lot of people didn’t receive notice or got the wrong address,” said Vanel. “We have to better inform people in the community about where they can vote.”

– BY ALEXA ALTMAN

 

10 a.m.

A large support base had already come out in numbers to place their vote for Assembly hopeful Nily Rozic, according to the first-time Democratic candidate from Fresh Meadows.

“I was at P.S. 173 this morning. There were a lot of my neighbors coming to vote and coming out to support me,” said the 25th Assembly District contender. “We’re really excited. I feel really strong. I have a great team and I feel really good about this election.”

Still, the former chief of staff to Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh said she expects a lower than usual voter turnout count.

“It is a Thursday primary, so it’s kind of an anomaly,” said Rozic, whose campaign literature outside poll sites tout her recent endorsements from the New York Times and the New York Daily News.

Poll site volunteers at P.S. 173 said more people have been coming out than they expected. One booth alone had seen 18 voters by only 10 a.m.

“The 25th Assembly District wants someone who’s independent, someone who offers a different perspective and is a fresh voice for our neighborhood,” she said. “Across the district, we’ve seen that we have a large base of support, whether it’s south Flushing or out in the depths of Oakland Gardens.”

Meanwhile, her opponent, longtime Community Board 11 chair and attorney Jerry Iannece, took to his poll site earlier at 9 a.m. The Bayside resident is backed by several elected officials, as well as the Queens County Democratic Party.

His campaign spokesperson, Will Watts, said Iannece’s camp is still waiting on returns for hard mid-dat turnout figures.

“So far, however, it appears to be a low turnout election,” Watts said. “We are counting on our volunteers and voter outreach operation to get out our vote and we are confident in them.”

– BY MELISSA CHAN

Voters angry over poll site changes


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

Arthur DeLuca has been voting in the same poll site since 1950.

But when he received notification in the mail from the city’s Board of Elections (BOE) saying his poll location had been moved almost a mile further away, the 87-year-old Oakland Gardens senior said he initially lost all desire to exercise his rights.

“I voted all my life. I said I was just going to stop,” DeLuca said. “It’s not right.”

Several poll sites across the city have changed — including 51 in Queens — after recent redistricting redrew the physical boundaries of election districts, said BOE spokesperson Valerie Vazquez.

Alternative poll sites also needed to replace numerous locations throughout all five boroughs that were found not to be handicap accessible, Vazquez said.

“It really varies on a case-by-case basis,” she said. “We tried to make the changes as convenient as possible for voters.”

Assembly hopeful Nily Rozic, a 25th District candidate, said the modifications were “another example of BOE disenfranchising voters, especially the elderly.”

“In the very least, the community should be given the opportunity to comment in a public forum. Many voters will not be able to exercise their right to vote due to these changes,” she said.

Vazquez said it would not have been the city BOE’s responsibility to hold a public hearing or commenting period, adding that voters received notification in the mail if their voting location had changed.

“These are the lines that were given to us by the state,” she said. “From there, the way that the districts were drawn — that is how our election district lines have changed as well.”

DeLuca, who lives on 207th Street, said he has been casting his ballot at P.S. 162, located at 201-02 53rd Avenue, since he first started voting. His new site — the Marie Curie Middle School at 46-35 Oceania Street — will be a trek, said the elder who limits his driving.

“We’ve been living here for so long, voting in the same place. Suddenly they changed it. I don’t think they care about the elderly anymore. I don’t see how they could change it,” he said. “How could they do it?”

The BOE did not specify how many sites throughout the city have changed.

Voters unsure of where their poll sites are located can visit www.vote.nyc.ny.us.