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Queens Chronicle

Huntley, facing indictment and primary, touts endorsements

Democratic campaign enters its final week

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Posted: Friday, September 7, 2012 6:40 pm | Updated: 2:27 am, Thu Oct 11, 2012.

Despite her indictment on felony corruption charges, state Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) still has the support of many powerful unions in the city, according to her campaign, which issued a press release touting their backing on Friday under the heading "Senator Shirley Huntley Bags Major Endorsements."

Huntley, a Democrat, is seeking re-election to the 10th Senate District, representing Southeast Queens. She faces primary challenges from City Councilman James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton) and Gian Jones, a community activist from the Rockaways.

But Huntley also faces legal challenges — she's under indictment for allegedly covering up the misuse of taxpayer funds that she allocated to a nonprofit group run by her niece and a former aide. She was arrested Aug. 27 after turning herself in to state investigators in Nassau County, where the case is being prosecuted, and has been charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor.

Sanders called on Huntley to step down the next day, but she has stayed in the race. Voting is Sept. 13.

And, according to her campaign, a number of unions and other supporters are sticking with her, including the United Federation of Teachers, Service Employees International Union 1199 and DC37.

When asked by the Queens Chronicle if it would be dropping its support for Huntley due to the indictment, a UFT spokesman responded in an email with a one-word answer: "No."

Other supporters of Huntley's could not immediately be reached for comment.

In announcing her support on Friday, the Huntley camp said her "strong labor and clergy backing" bolstered her campaign, and is based on her "principled commitment to her community."

“I am very grateful to this coalition of labor, clergy, elected officials and local community leaders that reflect their confidence in my ability to lead this district and its people," Huntley said in the announcement. "I have been a friend of labor all my adult life and they know it. I have fought hard for increasing the minimum wage for all New Yorkers and I’ve been a staunch advocate for the well-being of working families and children. That’s my record."

Huntley is also backed by several other elected officials in Jamaica and the surrounding area, including City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), the deputy majority leader, and state Assemblyman Bill Scarborough (D-Jamaica).

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