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Queens Chronicle

Scandal-Scarred Lawmaker Falls Behind In Primary Race

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Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2007 12:00 am

After being voted out of his leadership posts by fellow City Council members, scandal-scarred lawmaker Dennis Gallagher now appears to be losing support from some Republican primary voters, as well.

As of press time, the councilman was running last in a six-way primary race for the delegate seat to the judicial convention for the 28th Assembly District — a zone that encompasses Middle Village and parts of Forest Hills and Rego Park.

On Tuesday, the borough’s estimated 100,000 Republican voters cast their primary ballots to determine who will represent their neighborhood in the so-called “party machinery” that selects and endorses candidates for higher office.

At noon on Wednesday, John Haggerty was leading the District 28 pack with 320 votes, compared to Gallagher’s 207, according to Valerie Vasquez, a spokeswoman for the New York City Board of Elections. The four other candidates in the race were Bartholomew Bruno, Matthew Hunter, Richard Metzger and Marguerite Adams.

According to the Conflict of Interest Board, council members are allowed to hold seats on their county committees, as long as they are not in a leadership position. There is no specific prohibition on members serving as delegates to the judicial convention.

First elected to the council in 2002, Gallagher will be term-limited out in 2009.

Earlier this month, he quietly threw his hat into the primary ring after bowing out of his six committee assignments and the council’s minority whip post amid criminal charges that he raped a Middle Village grandmother in his district office.

In August, Gallagher, 43, pleaded not guilty in Kew Gardens Criminal Court to multiple counts of rape, assault and committing a criminal sexual act. He faces up to 25 years in prison, if convicted, and is currently out on $200,000 bail.

Since the charges were filed, the councilman has maintained his innocence and, last month, hired high-profile attorney, Benjamin Brafman, who has successfully defended such celebrities as Sean “P Diddy” Combs and Michael Jackson.

Gallagher returned phone calls, but could not be reached by press time.

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