Tag Archives: Senate

‘Peace officers’ may be coming to Resorts World Casino


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

One pol wants to keep the peace at Resorts World Casino.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo has been advancing legislation to create “peace officers” at the casino – security officers who would have the power to make arrests.

Currently, the casino has security guards that are not authorized to make arrests. They instead must detain any criminal offenders and wait for local NYPD officers to arrive on the scene before carrying out any arrests.

“I think that the threat of an immediate arrest might serve as a greater deterrent to those who are seeking to cause trouble in the area, and peace officers would have that authority,” Addabbo said.

The peace officers would be unarmed but would provide added law enforcement presence at the casino.

The legislation recently cleared the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, of which Addabbo is a ranking member. After being cleared by the whole Senate, it will go under consideration by the Assembly’s Codes Committee.

Pols push to make mixed martial arts legal in New York


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

A big fight for an increasingly popular sport is underway.

Mixed martial arts (MMA) could become legal in New York later this year, but there are still a few jabs advocates have to block.

Nine Queens assemblymembers sponsored a bill that would make the sport legal. The bill, sponsored by two legislators from Queens, passed 47-15 in the Senate.

The Assembly must pass the bill for it to become law, though the body voted not to remove the MMA ban last May. That left New York as one of a few states where professional MMA is illegal, though amateurs are allowed to fight here.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White has repeatedly blamed the Culinary Workers Union based in Nevada for blocking mixed martial arts in New York. His partners, Lorenzo and Frank Feritta, own Station Casinos in Las Vegas. Culinary workers have lobbied against the non-union establishment.

In an April 25 interview with ESPN, White said he wanted to see mixed martial arts in New York, but was resigned to waiting for the vote.

White said a UFC presence in the city would lead to about $600,000 in ticket taxes and an overall economic impact of $60-100 million. He is hopeful a fight will come at Madison Square Garden in the future.

“We’re doing fights all over the world,” he said. “Do I want to be here? Yes.”

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder met with representatives from the UFC last week. He said legalizing pro MMA would tap into a revenue source nearly every other state has. Goldfeder added that no one opposing the legalization has reached out to him.

“There’s a huge upside with no downside. We currently have the access to MMA” through cable television, he said. “Now we can take advantage of some of the benefits as well.”

Goldfeder said he is confident the assembly will pass the bill before the current legislative session ends in June.

He added that Resorts World Casino New York City could potentially host UFC fights. While it is not as big as Madison Square Garden or the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, it has hosted professional boxing matches on the third floor.

Requests for comment from Unite Here, the nationwide wing of the culinary union, were not answered by press time.

 

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House approves $50.7B in Sandy aid


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Sandy victims are one step closer to receiving the relief money they need.

After $9.7 billion in flood insurance funds were signed into law earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an additional $50.7 billion in aid.

In a 327-91 vote Tuesday afternoon, January 15, the House approved $17 billion in emergency funding that will go towards addressing immediate needs for victims and communities affected by Sandy.

A few hours later, a final bill that included an additional $33.7 billion for both immediate and anticipated needs was adopted in a 241-180 vote.

“We are grateful to those members of Congress who today pulled together in a unified, bipartisan coalition to assist millions of their fellow Americans in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut at their greatest time of need. The tradition of Congress being there and providing support for Americans during times of crisis, no matter where they live across this great country, lives on in today’s vote in the House of Representatives. We anticipate smooth passage when this package moves back to the Senate for final approval and for this long-awaited relief to finally make its way to our residents,” said Governors Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie and Dannel Malloy in a joint statement.

“It’s been two-and-a-half months since Sandy hammered our region, and thousands of New Yorkers continue to suffer from the devastation. Now, they will finally receive the relief that they have desperately needed, said Congressmember Grace Meng. “The battle we had to fight to secure this aid was outrageous. But I’m pleased that the money will finally start to head our way.”

Throughout the day’s legislative session, House members spoke adamantly about the bill. Some stressed the relief money’s urgency, while others objected to unrelated Sandy spending.
In the House, the majority of those opposed to the relief aid were Republicans. The Democratically controlled Senate is expected to say yes to the money next week.

In December, the Senate initially approved the full $60.4 billion Sandy aid package in one lump sum, but the House adjourned before it could follow suit.

After several politicians publicly criticized Speaker John Boehner for the early adjournment, he scheduled a vote on the legislation.

But the $60.4 billion was broken up into several votes, starting with Congress’ January 4 approval of the $9.7 billion.

That part of the legislation temporarily increases the borrowing authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for carrying out the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

The $50 billion passed Tuesday includes money for FEMA disaster relief, transit and infrastructure repairs, and other recovery needs.

 

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Candidates vie for Sanders’ City Council seat in special election


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Candidates 15th district

A vacant seat has been left in the 31st Council District by James Sanders’ ascent to the State Senate, and more than one candidate hopes to slide into the spot.

A special election is set to be held on February 19 for the coveted Council seat, covering parts of Springfield Gardens, Laurelton and Rosedale. The race has attracted several different candidates thus far, many of whom have hit the campaign trail running.

Sanders’ former chief-of-staff, Donovan Richards, is considered the front runner, according to multiple media reports. Richards has received endorsements from not only his former boss, but also from the City Council’s Progressive Caucus and the Working Families Party. He worked in the City Council for ten years under Sanders (pictured right), and is now looking to acquire his own seat.

In order to be eligible to run, all candidates must file with the Board of Elections (BOE) by January 15.

Valerie Vazquez, a BOE spokesperson, said that as of press time, Allan Jennings, a former City Councilmember, and Selvena Brooks, who has worked in the State Senate, have filed to run.

Brooks filed her candidacy under the party name “Rebuild Now,” referencing not only rebuilding post-Sandy, but also rebuilding the education system, local economy and neighborhoods.

Marie Adam-Ovide, the district manager of Community Board 8, has been expected to announce her candidacy, as is Earnest Flowers, former chief-of-staff of Assemblymember William Scarborough. Flowers boasts a reputation of making his promises a reality, and having “quantifiable work.”

“The reason why we don’t get a lot of things done is because no one puts anything down on paper, so no one can be held accountable,” said Flowers. “Everything I do is transparent.”

Flowers recently held a fundraising event for his campaign in his home, where he spoke to a crowd of roughly 60 about his passion for the community.

Many others are rumored to join the race, and will face each other on Thursday, February 7 at the 31st District Candidates’ Night. Members of the community will join the candidates in Laurelton at St. Luke’s

Cathedral where they will be given the opportunity to ask the Council hopefuls questions regarding their positions.

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‘Lincoln’ tops Oscar list with 12 nominations


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

The nominations for the 85th annual Oscars were announced this morning in Beverly Hills.

Leading the list was “Lincoln” with 12 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director for Steven Spielberg,  Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis, Supporting Actor for Tommy Lee Jones and Best Supporting Actress for Sally Field

Other best picture nominees are “Amour,” ”Argo,” ”Beasts of the Southern Wild,” ”Django Unchained,” ”Les Miserables,” ”Life of Pi, “‘Silver Linings Playbook” and ”Zero Dark Thirty.”

Two nominations also made history. The list of honorees includes both the youngest and oldest Best Actress contenders to ever be nominated. Emmanuelle Riva, 85, was nominated for her role in “Amour” and nine-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis for the film “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

Here’s the full list of nominations:


Best picture 

  • “Amour”
  • “Argo”
  • “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
  • “Django Unchained”
  • “Les Misérables”
  • “Life of Pi”
  • “Lincoln”
  • “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • “Zero Dark Thirty”

Actor

  • Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln”
  • Hugh Jackman in “Les Misérables”
  • Joaquin Phoenix in “The Master”
  • Denzel Washington in “Flight”

Actress

  • Jessica Chastain in “Zero Dark Thirty”
  • Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • Emmanuelle Riva in “Amour”
  • Quvenzhané Wallis in “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
  • Naomi Watts in “The Impossible”

Actor

  • Alan Arkin in “Argo”
  • Robert De Niro in “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in “The Master”
  • Tommy Lee Jones in “Lincoln”
  • Christoph Waltz in “Django Unchained”

Supporting actress

  • Amy Adams in “The Master”
  • Sally Field in “Lincoln”
  • Anne Hathaway in “Les Misérables”
  • Helen Hunt in “The Sessions”
  • Jacki Weaver in “Silver Linings Playbook”

Director

  • “Amour,” Michael Haneke
  • “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Benh Zeitlin
  • “Life of Pi,” Ang Lee
  • “Lincoln,” Steven Spielberg
  • “Silver Linings Playbook,” David O. Russell

Foreign language film 

  • “Amour,” Austria
  • “Kon-Tiki,” Norway
  • “No,” Chile
  • “A Royal Affair,” Denmark
  • “War Witch,” Canada

Animated feature film 

  • “Brave,” Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
  • “Frankenweenie,” Tim Burton
  • “ParaNorman,” Sam Fell and Chris Butler
  • “The Pirates! Band of Misfits,” Peter Lord
  • “Wreck-It Ralph,” Rich Moore

Adapted screenplay

  • “Argo,” Chris Terrio
  • “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
  • “Life of Pi,” David Magee
  • “Lincoln,” Tony Kushner
  • “Silver Linings Playbook,” David O. Russell

Original screenplay

  • “Amour,” Michael Haneke
  • “Django Unchained,” Quentin Tarantino
  • “Flight,” John Gatins
  • “Moonrise Kingdom,” Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
  • “Zero Dark Thirty,” Mark Boal

Best documentary feature

  • “5 Broken Cameras”
  • “The Gatekeepers”
  • “How to Survive a Plague”
  • “The Invisible War”
  • “Searching for Sugar Man”

Best documentary short 

  • “Inocente,” Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine
  • “Kings Point,” Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider
  • “Mondays at Racine,” Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan
  • “Open Heart,” Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern
  • “Redemption,” Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill

Cinematography

  • “Anna Karenina,” Seamus McGarvey
  • “Django Unchained,” Robert Richardson
  • “Life of Pi,” Claudio Miranda
  • “Lincoln,” Janusz Kaminski
  • “Skyfall,” Roger Deakins

Costume design

  • “Anna Karenina,” Jacqueline Durran
  • “Les Misérables,” Paco Delgado
  • “Lincoln,” Joanna Johnston
  • “Mirror Mirror,” Eiko Ishioka
  • “Snow White and the Huntsman,” Colleen Atwood

Film editing

  • “Argo,” William Goldenberg
  • “Life of Pi,” Tim Squyres
  • “Lincoln,” Michael Kahn
  • “Silver Linings Playbook,” Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers
  • “Zero Dark Thirty,” Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg

Makeup and hairstyling

  • “Hitchcock,” Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel
  • “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane
  • “Les Misérables,” Westcott and Julie Dartnell

 Original score

  • “Anna Karenina,” Dario Marianelli
  • “Argo,” Alexandre Desplat
  • “Life of Pi,” Mychael Danna
  • “Lincoln,” John Williams
  • “Skyfall,” Thomas Newman

Original song

  • “Before My Time” from “Chasing Ice,” Music and Lyric by J. Ralph
  • “Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from “Ted,” Music by Walter Murphy; Lyric by Seth MacFarlane
  • “Pi’s Lullaby” from “Life of Pi,” Music by Mychael Danna; Lyric by Bombay Jayashri
  • “Skyfall” from “Skyfall,” Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
  • “Suddenly” from “Les Misérables,” Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

Production design

  • “Anna Karenina” (Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer)
  • “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (Production Design: Dan Hennah; Set Decoration: Ra Vincent and Simon Bright)
  • “Les Misérables” (Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Anna Lynch-Robinson)
  • “Life of Pi” (Production Design: David Gropman; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock)
  • “Lincoln” (Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson)

Animated short film

  • “Adam and Dog” (Minkyu Lee)
  • “Fresh Guacamole” (PES)
  • “Head over Heels” (Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly)
  • “Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”” (David Silverman)
  • “Paperman” (John Kahrs)

Live action short film

  • “Asad” (Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura)
  • “Buzkashi Boys” (Sam French and Ariel Nasr)
  • “Curfew” (Shawn Christensen)
  • “Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)” (Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele)
  • “Henry” (Yan England)

Sound editing

  • “Argo” (Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn)
  • “Django Unchained” (Wylie Stateman)
  • “Life of Pi” (Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton)
  • “Skyfall” (Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers)
  • “Zero Dark Thirty” (Paul N.J. Ottosson)

Sound mixing

  • “Argo” (John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia)
  • “Les Misérables” (Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes)
  • “Life of Pi” (Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin)
  • “Lincoln” (Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins)
  • “Skyfall” (Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson)

Visual effects

  • “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White)
  • “Life of Pi” (Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott)
  • “Marvel’s The Avengers” (Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick)
  • “Prometheus” (Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill)
  • “Snow White and the Huntsman” (Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson)

Congress approves $9.7B in Sandy aid


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

After the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelming passed 9.7 billion in Sandy aid Friday, 354-67, the Senate unanimously approved it later that afternoon.

The money will go towards flood insurance claims for Sandy-damaged homes and businesses.

A vote on the remaining $51 billion in storm aid will take place January 15.

“Belated as the bill may be, I am pleased the House was able to finally act today on a piece of the vital Superstorm Sandy disaster relief legislation to increase borrowing authority by FEMA on behalf of the National Flood Insurance Program. This action, however, is woefully insufficient in addressing the significant concerns and needs of millions affected by last fall’s storm,” said Congressmember Gregory Meeks.

“Today’s action by the House was a necessary and critical first step towards delivering aid to the people of New York and New Jersey. While we are pleased with this progress, today was just a down payment and it is now time to go even further and pass the final and more complete, clean disaster aid bill. We are trusting Congress to act accordingly on January 15th and pass the final $51 billion instrumental for long-term rebuilding in order for New Jersey, New York and our people to recover after the severe devastation of Hurricane Sandy,” said Governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie in a joint statement.

Today’s approval came after several politicians publicly criticized Speaker John Boehner earlier this week for adjourning the House before voting on the $60 billion Sandy relief package.

Following the criticism, Boehner promptly scheduled a vote on the legislation.

President Obama, who urged the House to vote and pass the aid money, is expected to sign today’s approved bill.

Gillibrand wins full term in Senate


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand won re-election in a landslide victory over Republican challenger Wendy Long earning the Democrat her first full term in the Senate.

With nearly 96 percent of precincts reporting, Gillibrand secured 72 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

“So while from the bottom of my heart I thank you for the honor and privilege of continuing to serve this state and to fight for New York families in the United States Senate, rather than focusing on politics tonight, I really want to focus on the New York I see while visiting the families recovering from Hurricane Sandy,” the junior Senator said during her victory speech.

The relatively unknown Long, a Manhattan lawyer, faced an uphill battle against the well-funded Gillibrand, polling well behind her in the Democratic stronghold.

Gillibrand outraised Long by more than 20 to 1 — $15 million to $700,000 — and is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party.

Long, who collected 27 percent of the vote according to unofficial results, bested Congressmember Bob Turner and Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos in the June 26 Republican Primary.

The race between the two Dartmouth graduates also marked the first time in New York that two woman faced off in a Senate election.

Gillibrand was first appointed to the Senate by the Governor David Patterson in 2009 to fill the vacant seat left when Hillary Clinton was chosen by Barack Obama as Secretary of State. She maintained the seat during the 2010 special election.

“I can’t thank you enough for your vote, for your confidence and for your willingness to allow me to serve this great state for a six-year term,” she sad.

 

Live Coverage: Queens Primary Day at the races


| 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

Board of Elections bounces hopefuls from ballot


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Three northeast Queens assembly hopefuls had their election dreams squashed after the city’s Board of Elections (BOE) tossed them off the primary ballot.

Democrat John Scandalios, who was vying to replace Assemblymember Grace Meng in the Flushing-based 40th District, had an insufficient number of signatures and was bumped off the September 13 primary ballot, according to results of the BOE’s July 31 ballot challenge hearings.

William Garifal Jr. — one of two Republican runners in the 25th Assembly race — and Lauren Whalen-Nelson, who had hoped to take on current Assemblymember Ed Braunstein in the 26th District, also got the boot due to lack of valid petitions.

Each contender had until July 12 to circulate at least 500 required designating petitions, according to the BOE.

Democrats Ron Kim, Ethel Chen, Myungsuk Lee, Yen Chou and Martha Flores-Vasquez and Republicans Phil Gim and Sunny Hahn will battle it out next month in the 40th District, as will Democrats Jerry Iannece and Nily Rozic in the 25th District. With Garifal’s expulsion, Republican candidate Abe Fuchs in the 25th District will sail through to November’s general election.

State Senator Tony Avella will also not see a challenger until November, when he will face off with Republican contender Joseph Concannon in the 11th District. But State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky in the 16th District can expect a primary fight from Democratic opponent John Messer. Both had enough signatures to make it through until September, despite allegations from Messer’s camp saying Stavisky submitted fraudulent signatures. The winner will take on Republican candidate J.D. Kim.

Braunstein is looking at an uncontested re-election if the Queens County Republican Party declines to file an appeal on behalf of Whalen-Nelson. GOP chair Phil Ragusa said the County was considering the move but was not yet sure.

“We don’t want to disenfranchise the voters of the 26th Assembly district,” Ragusa said. “In an election, you should have both parties represented.”

Whalen-Nelson was seeking to run as a substitute for Tim Furey, a candidate who originally planned on taking on the incumbent but later declined the line, Ragusa said.

Furey, who had unsuccessfully tried to unseat Assemblymember David Weprin in the 24th District in 2010, was not the first this year to bow out of the 26th District race despite being backed by the Queens GOP.

The GOP originally pushed to pit Ralph Cefalo against Braunstein, but the Malba resident ultimately chose not to enter the race, citing personal matters, Ragusa said back in June.

But the County chair said declinations were nothing new.

“There’s a time to decline. This isn’t the first time this happened. It’s how Joe Crowley became the congressman. It’s done all the time,” he said.

Meanwhile, Scandalios lambasted the “forces against him” — opponent Yen Chou, the Queens County Democratic Party and the BOE — for throwing him off the ballot.

The former comic book store owner said the BOE gave him “false information” while he fought objections from the Queens Democrats and “corrupt data” by BOE clerks.

Scandalios can appear on the ballot in the general election if he runs on another line and gathers 1,500 signatures from within the district by August 26, according to the BOE.

“Eventually, I will be elected,” Scandalios said.

Candidates start slinging mud in 15th Senate District


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Though the 15th Senate District Republican Primary is still two months away, there has already been heavy campaigning — and a lot of mudslinging.

A mailer sent out by the Juan Reyes campaign last month claimed that incumbent councilmember and State Senate hopeful Eric Ulrich was the choice of Republican party insiders.

“If the Albany political bosses had their way, their hand-picked puppet would already be on his way to the Senate chamber to rubber stamp the backroom deals they cut months ago,” the mailer read.

An official in the Reyes campaign said the race was unfair because of perks Ulrich had been receiving, especially with promoting his campaign. The Reyes official said the State Senate Republicans Campaign Committee had been sending out mailers for the Ulrich campaign by use of the state Republican Party’s non-profit mailing status. This practice, the official said, makes this an unbalanced race.

A representative for the committee confirmed it had endorsed Ulrich for the Republican primary, and that it was legal for them to use the party’s non-profit postal status to send out mailers for his campaign.

The Reyes campaign rep went on to say that funds raised by the committee had originally been established to help Republicans defeat Democrats, not other Republicans. He added that these mailers were probably sent out with little-to-no consultation from the local community.

“They’ve done probably close to half a dozen without any kind of input of local Republicans,” he said.

Bill O’Reilly, a spokesperson for the Ulrich campaign, dispelled the accusations in the mailer, and referred back to an earlier claim by Reyes that his campaign offices had been vandalized by Ulrich endorsers.

“That mailing is utterly ridiculous — almost as bizarre as Mr. Reyes’ statement about his campaign office being ransacked. Queens voters are smart and will not fall for Machiavellian tactics like that,” he said in an email. “Councilmember Ulrich is the clear reform candidate in this race. It’s why he has garnered so much local support.”

On July 9, Friends of Juan Reyes sent a news release questioning Ulrich’s association with John Haggerty, a former Bloomberg campaign runner who was convicted of felony charges in stealing about $750,000 from the camp, citing several recent stories regarding the councilmember’s association with Haggerty. One article attached to the release said Haggerty had submitted petition signatures for Ulrich to the Board of Elections. O’Reilly responded to the release saying, “The fact is, that a campaign volunteer named Mike Michel submitted the councilmember’s petitions at the Board of Elections. Mr. Reyes needs to get his facts straight — and to take a few days off to gather his wits.”

Turner’s attention turns toward helping Long in Senate race


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

turner long

After Congressmember Bob Turner’s loss in the U.S. Senate Republican primary, it is unclear what he’ll do next, as his district will be split up at the end of this year.

Turner lost the Republican primary to Manhattan lawyer Wendy Long — who will now run against incumbent Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Despite the loss — and a major endorsement from former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani — Turner said after Long’s victory that he would work to support the nominee in her run against Gillibrand.

“I pledge to work with Ms. Long to unite all Republicans and Conservatives in the effort to defeat Kirsten Gillibrand in November,” he said.

Turner, a Queens native, recently made headlines when he protested a principal’s decision not to have children sing “God Bless the U.S.A.” at P.S. 90’s moving up ceremony. Turner showed up at the Brooklyn school with a group of flag-waving children, who sang a rendition of the 1984 country music hit.

Before seeking a life in public office, Turner worked in media entertainment companies. He retired in 2003. Turner, according to his congressional biography, spent his entire life living within District 9.

The former cable executive twill have served just more than a year on Capitol Hill, representing areas including Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Maspeth and the Rockaways. These neighborhoods will now be part of Districts 6, 7 and 8.

Turner won the special election last September, beating out State Assemblymember David Weprin following the resignation of Anthony Weiner, and became the first Republican to hold the seat since 1922. Prior to that, he ran against Weiner in the 2010 Congressional election.

“This is a historic race,” Turner said upon his 2011 victory.

Repeated calls to Turner’s representatives for comment on future plans were not returned.

Wendy Long wins primary, to face Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in November


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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In a minor upset, Wendy Long handily won the three-way race in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Long, a New York City attorney, defeated Congressmember Bob Turner and Nassau County comptroller George Maragos. She secured a majority of the vote with 51 percent, according to reports.

Turner finished with 36 percent, while Maragos received 13.5 percent.

Long’s support was mostly out of the five boroughs as Turner received 66 percent of the votes in the city, according to the Board of Election’s unofficial results.

“On the 6th of November, we will change the face of New York politics,” Long said.

The Republican, who has never held elected office, will now face Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in the general election on that date.

“This landslide victory tells me that the people of New York saw that I would create the sharpest contrast with Kirsten Gillibrand,” said Long.

Fewer than 140,000 voters cast their ballots statewide in an election notable for its low turnout. There are more than 2.5 million registered Republicans in New York.

Turner, who currently represents parts of Queens in the 9th Congressional District, congratulated Long on the victory and promised to work with the candidate.

“I pledge to work with Ms. Long to unite all Republicans and Conservatives in the effort to defeat Kirsten Gillibrand in November,” he said.

Gillibrand won the Senate seat in 2010, after being appointed to it a year earlier when Hillary Clinton left to become Secretary of State.

The general election will pit candidates on opposite sides of the spectrum.

Gillibrand was named by the National Journal as the nation’s most liberal senator, a fact trumpeted by the Long campaign. Long is a staunch conservative that opposes same-sex marriage and raising the debt ceiling.

Long faces an uphill battle against Gillibrand. The senator has nearly $10 million in campaign cash against Long’s $193,000. Recent polls have Gillibrand with a 30 point advantage over her Republican challenger.

Live Coverage: Queens Primary Day at the races


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Alexa Altman

11:40 P.M.

In a released written statement, Bob Turner, who lost tonight’s U.S. Senate Republican primary to Wendy Long said:

“I congratulate Ms. Long on her impressive victory tonight. I want to thank Chairman Cox and all of the Republicans from across the state who supported me in this campaign. I went to Congress last year as a citizen legislator on a clear mission to help save our nation from the harmful big-government policies that are keeping New Yorkers out of work, small businesses shuttered and record levels of debt on the backs of our children. Senator Gillibrand has made a dramatic transformation from her days as a conservative Democrat to now being named the nation’s most liberal senator as a loyal supporter of the Obama-Reid agenda. I remain steadfastly committed to these goals and I pledge to work with Ms. Long to unite all Republicans and Conservatives in the effort to defeat Kirsten Gillibrand in November.”

11:30 P.M. 

Several media sources are also reporting Gregory Meeks the primary winner in District 5, Grace Meng in District 6 and Wendy Long in the  U.S. Senate Republican primary.

 

 

 

 

 

11:05 p.m.

Incumbent Congressmember Nydia Velazquez will continue her run for an 11th term on Capitol Hill, after the New York Times reported the Brooklyn-based representative had won a four-way primary. Velazquez—who is running in the new Congressional District 7— is now running unopposed for the seat, as there is no current Republican candidate.

The new district spans from Chinatown, through Brooklyn and into Woodhaven. Queens residents who were once represented in the soon-to-be defunct District 9 had expressed concern about the redistricting and how they would be represented in such a diverse Congressional area.

10:50 p.m.

Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries defeated Councilmember Charles Barron in the Democratic primary, and will now face Republican Allan Bellone on November 6. In the days and weeks leading up to the election, Jeffries received key endorsements from Senator Charles Schumer, former Mayor Ed Koch, Assemblymember Philip Goldfeder and State Senator Joseph Addabbo. The newly-drawn District 8—though mainly made up of Brooklyn neighborhoods—includes parts of Howard Beach and Ozone Park.

10:25 p.m.

Eddie Boles, treasurer of the Uniformed Fire Officers Union, who campaigned with Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley throughout Queens today, spoke with many undecided voters:

“We emphasized the point that she’s a person that cares about constituents, community.”

“She’s a doer. She provides results.”

While he said he couldn’t know for sure whether Crowley would win, Boles did say “I’m confidant in her ability to be a good congresswoman.”

9 p.m.

Poll are closed. Stay with the Queens Courier for all the results.

6:50 p.m.

Quotes from outside P.S. 173 in Fresh Meadow:

“I’m voting for Crowley because she looks intelligent.  If she wins we will give her a chance to prove to us what she is worth,” Rose Giraldo, 64.

“I don’t really know who is on the ballot, but I’m going to go check it out,” Victor Chan, 36.

6:30 p.m.

Poll monitors at P.S. 173 in Fresh Meadows said 450 voters have been there and the after work crowd is picking up.

5:45 p.m.

According to poll monitors at M.S. 158 in Bayside, 132 have voted between the hours of 6 a.m. and 5 p.m.

5:30 p.m.

The Courier spotted poll workers at M.S. 158 in Bayside single-handedly taking down Assemblymember Grace Meng’s campaign flyers, which were placed on the gates surrounding the school. It is prohibited to place or wear campaign paraphernalia within 500 feet of polling locations, they said.

Earlier this morning, a poll worker at P.S. 173 in Fresh Meadows told Assemblymember Rory Lancman to take off a campaign sticker he was wearing on his suit that displayed his name when he went to cast his vote.

4:17 p.m.

City & State is reporting that supporters of Assemblymember Rory Lancman and Robert Mittman got into a “heated altercation.”

A man from the Orthodox Jewish anti gay-marriage group Jews For Morality told the site, “I don’t understand why I was attacked by several members of the Lancman campaign. They felt somehow that we were being disingenuous.”

2:30 p.m.

As Congressmember Nydia Velazquez is out at polling stations just hours before polls close, she has been advising that her name is mistranslated in Chinese, DNAinfo has reported.

Velazquez is running in a four-way primary in a newly-drawn district that spans from Chinatown, through Brooklyn and into Woodhaven.

The translation of the 10-term congressmember’s name was in eight characters, DNAinfo reported, which when pronounced did not sound like Velazquez’s name.

Multiple calls to the Board of Elections were not answered.

1:35 p.m.

By 11:30 a.m., 120 voters had cast their ballots at St. Andrew Avellino School in Flushing. While the turnout seemed weak for such a contentious race, those present fervently believed their involvement could make a difference.

“The primary is more important than the general election,” said Moogseog Mah, a 60-year-old Flushing resident. “Without the primary, I can’t choose who I want.”

Claudia Sargent, a 57-year-old Flushing resident, said voting in the primary allotted her a “grassroots approach” to politics.

“The primary is where you really get to make your mark, both literally and figuratively,” said Sargent. “I see good possibilities in two candidates, but I voted my conscience. When you vote in the general election, you are voting for the candidate that the [political] machine has chosen for you.”

1:30 p.m.

Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries, running for the 8th congressional district, walked to P.S. 9 in Brooklyn shortly after 9:45 a.m., with his two sons, Joshua, 8, and Jeremiah, 10, to cast his ballot.

He was completely confident of victory.

“Oh we’re going to win the Democratic primary,” said Jeffries when asked if he doesn’t win the primaries will he still run with another party.

Jeffries said that the early primaries and redistricting presents a challenge, but he still connected with the community.

“There is certainly a challenge as it relates to the accelerated primary and the fact that we have to deal with the redistricting year,” he said. “But that said we’re confident that we’ve identified thousands of supporters who are going to come out and support us today.”

Jeffries also said the district lines, which are comprised of parts of Brooklyn and Queens, will not be a problem.

“There are things that unify people all across this congressional district. Everybody cares about safe streets. Everybody cares about good public schools everybody cares about a strong economy. We are bringing people together all across the congressional district in neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn and queens. I’m confident that at the end of the day we are going to be successful,” he said.

12:30 p.m.

Assemblymember Grace Meng arrived at St. Andrew Avellino School in Flushing at 11 a.m., ready to cast her vote.  Accompanied by husband Wayne, 37, and their young sons, Tyler, 4, and Brandon, 2, the congressional hopeful smiled as she received a warm welcome.

“We’re expecting a slightly low turnout,” said Meng, who joked she just spotted a family trailing suitcases, leaving for vacation. “We’re still hopeful for the evening rush. Hopefully more people will come out to vote.”

The predicted low turnout did not bother the assemblymember, who mentioned she feels she is getting a great amount of support from the community.

“Several people have said they’re voting for me,” she said.

Meng claimed a major push of her campaign involved spreading the word throughout the borough about voting in the primary, held this year in June for the first time in many years.

“We’ve made tons of phone calls and knocked on tons of doors and hopefully by the close of voting today and the close of the polls we’ll see a good turnout,” said Meng.

Toting Brandon on her hip, Meng strolled into the building to file her ballot.

“We’re very excited to cast out vote for Grace Meng,” said the assemblymember. “We look forward to the results and getting right to work.”

 

12:30 p.m.

Assemblymember Rory Lancman cast his vote at 11 a.m. at P.S. 173 in Fresh Meadows with the support of his two daughters, who helped scan his ballot.

“I’ve always been excited about election day, just being involved in politics my whole life. The elections that I get to vote for myself are even more exciting,” said Lancman, one of four 6th District primary candidates.

Lancman was surrounded by his two daughters, 10-year-old Laura Hannah and 12-year-old Gail, his 14-year-old son Jonathan and his wife Morgan.

“Running for office is a lot of fun, but it’s a tremendous sacrifice for the family,” he said. “It really is a team effort.  My two daughters in particular helping me put my ballot through the scanner was really very nice.”

According to volunteer at a poll site, 211 people had casted their vote at about 11 a.m.

“I feel very confident that we’re going to win,” Lancman said. “I think we have an understanding of what the universal voters are going to be in this race based on past races. We focused our efforts on making sure that we get our message out to who we think is going to vote. From what we can see, we’ve pretty much been accurate about what the universe is. I think we’ll have a good result tonight.”

12:40 p.m. Congressmember Bob Turner cast his vote in the Republican primary race for U.S. Senate earlier this morning in his hometown neighborhood of Breezy Point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

11:00 a.m.

Congressmember Gregory Meeks cast his vote at about 9:45 this morning in St. Albans at P.S. 118 Lorraine Hansbury School.

With him was his wife, Simone Marie Meeks, who also cast her vote. The long-time congressmember said he was confident going into the last stretch of campaigning before ballots close tonight.

“I feel good, you never take anything for granted,” Meeks said. “You know you’ve got to earn everybody’s vote, and that’s what we try to do.”

Meeks said Congressional District 5’s diversity in many ways made it an area he looked forward to representing again. “I think it’s an exciting district,” he said. “It’s a district that looks like America when you think of it.”

 

 

 

10: 45 a.m.

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley cast her vote this morning at P.S. 113 in Glendale flanked by her sons Dennis and Owen after talking to voters in Forest Hills.

“I feel strong. Ive been getting a great response from the people,” the 6th District candidate said.  “I outworked my opponents and I think its been a good campaign.”

The primary comes a day after the city agreed on a new budget that saved the 20 fire companies that were threatened to close.

Crowley who chairs the Fire and Criminal Justice committee said, “Closing even one fire company would have reduced response times and people’s lives would have hung in the balance.”

Surrounded by supporters from the Uniformed Fire Officers union, who endorsed her, Crowley added, “I’m so grateful to have the support of the uniformed fire officers, the firefighters, they’re out there working hard and helping get out message across to the voters.”

 

Primary Guide: U.S. Senate


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Name: Wendy Long

Party: Republican

Current Position: Long is a member of Mitt Romney’s Justice Advisory Committee, teaches Roman Catholic catechism in New York City for the Narnia program, and is a member of the New York City Parks Mounted Auxiliary Unit.

Personal Info: Long lives in Manhattan with her husband, Arthur, their two children, Arthur and Mado.

Issues: From the candidate’s website:

• Outrageous levels of debt

• Corporate cronyism

• Lack of an American energy policy

Platforms: “Men and women of good faith in every party want to see a new way of doing business in Washington. That is what I intend to offer in this campaign, and that is what I will deliver as the next United States Senator from the State of New York. I want to work for the people of New York to make it shine brightly again as a jewel in our national crown. Already, many good people all across this great state have put their trust in me. I intend to make myself worthy of that trust,” Long said on her website.

 

Name: George Maragos

Party: Republican

Current Position: Maragos is the elected Nassau County Comptroller. He was elected in 2009.

Personal Info: Maragos, a graduate of McGill University, has had over 35 years of senior management experience and accomplishments with leading organizations in banking, consulting and information systems, including founding and guiding a Wall Street financial technology services company. He is married to his wife, Angela, for 37 years. Together, they have two sons, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

Issues: According to Maragos, government’s top priority should be to restore economic growth and enable the creation of good paying private sector jobs. He also believes Americans must make a national commitment to achieve energy dependence in 10 years and become a global leader in renewable energy technology.

Platforms: Maragos is running to reduce government deficit and entitlements, clear foreign policy, strengthen national security and improve education by abolishing the federal Department of Education and giving authority back to the states.

 

Name: Robert “Bob” Turner

Party: Republican

Current Position: Representative for the 9th Congressional District

Personal info: Turner has spent nearly his entire life within the 9th Congressional District. He grew up in Woodside – the oldest of three boys — and raised his own family in Richmond Hill. Turner has a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University and served in the US Army. He ran against incumbent Congressmember Anthony Weiner in 2010 and lost. Turner beat State Assemblymember David Weprin in a 2011 Special Election after Weiner resigned – becoming the first Republican to hold the seat since 1922. Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani endorsed Turner’s bid for the Senate seat. Before running for Congress, he spent more than 40 years in the television industry.

Issues/Platforms:

• Cutting taxes

• Supports the construction of the Keystone Pipeline

• Well-prepared military

• Small government

• Following the Constitution

• Repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

 

Check out the primary guide for all the races:

5th Congressional District

6th Congressional District

7th Congressional District

8th Congressional District

Injunction denied, new district lines are final


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

fs-NYCw

Following the failure of a preliminary injunction against the state legislative map, no pencils can erase and redraw district lines.

The injunction, which was requested by Democrats, was recently rejected by a judge – finalizing the lines for the upcoming State Senate and Assembly elections due to the lack of time remaining for a trial to intervene before the commencement of primary season.

Despite the court’s verdict, Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) Chair Michael Gianaris says Democrats will continue their fight in court to remove the lines in time for the next election, which occurs in 2014.

“Unfortunately, the delay tactics of the Senate Republicans were effective and the courts said they simply don’t have enough time to make a decision before the political process takes place this year, and they were unwilling to postpone the election season,” Gianaris said. “They will continue hearing the case on the normal court schedule, which will extend beyond this election. The goal is to retake the majority for the Democrats under these badly gerrymandered lines and continue to pursue the case in court so we end up with a fair map at the end of the day.”

The Senate Democrats were hoping to eliminate the maps, drawn by the New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) – made up largely of Republican Senators due to their current control of the chamber.

Many believe LATFOR’s maps were drawn to prevent Democrats from retaking control of the chamber.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Democrats did not expect to have their preliminary injunction granted. The primary gripe among Democrats was the creation of the 63rd District seat, which was viewed as a political tactic to keep Republicans in power, according to the source.

“I’m disappointed that it’s happened this way and the courts decided that the 63rd [District] will stay for this election,” said Senator Jose Peralta. “But the fight is not over. With myself, Senator Gianaris and the Democratic conference, we are going to be pushing to make sure we eliminate that seat come next election season.”

Peralta went on to say that polls are indicating the public wants a Democratic majority in the Senate. The senator believes Democrats, who retook the chamber in 2008 after over 40 years of Republican control, are “much more prepared this time around to take back the majority.”

Democrats have now run out of options after the lawsuit arguing the constitutionality of the extra State Senate seat was also rebuffed and the federal government provided preclearance to the map under the Voting Rights Act.

“Yesterday, the federal three-judge panel denied the motion for a preliminary injunction, and ordered the 2012 Senate elections to proceed under the lines enacted by the Legislature,” said Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. “The decision comes just two weeks after the New York Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that our redistricting plan complied with the State Constitution and less than a month since we received preclearance from the Obama administration’s Department of Justice. I am extremely pleased with this decision, and it ensures the state can administer an orderly and fair election this fall.”