Ron Kim defeated four opponents in the race for the State Assembly 40th District Democratic primary. He will face Republican Phil Gim in November. The seat is a redrawn version of the one held by Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing), who is dropping it to make a run for Congress.
According to preliminary results, Kim received a total of 1,136 votes, or 27.2 percent, with closest rival Yen Chou receiving 974 votes, or 23.3 percent.
Ethel Chen came in third with 932 votes, or 22.3 percent. Myungsuk Lee received 619 votes, or 14.8 percent. In last place was Martha Flores-Vazquez, who collected 521 votes, or 12.5 percent.
“It’s so surreal,” said Kim, taking the stand for his first major political victory at the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel in downtown Flushing.
After thanking his opponents, saying, “Everybody ran an amazing race,” his thoughts turned personal.
The Korean-born Kim acknowledged his parents, who “sacrificed everything so I can pursue the American dream,” and his fiancee, who he said has encouraged him to follow his dreams.
“We lived Democracy the right way,” he said of the campaign. “It takes a whole city to raise an elected official the right way.
“I’m so honored to represent my home town, Flushing. We targeted every community. We have to represent everyone. Meeting voters was the most exciting part.”
Kim said City Comptroller John Liu got him his first job in government, adding, “I’m proud to have his help throughout every step of this campaign.”
At the celebration, Liu said, “Ron’s going to take care of everybody in this district. He asked everybody for votes.
“Ron was the best candidate. He is an immigrant who came here at seven and has decided to stay in Flushing. He had a lot of choices when he came out of school. He committed his life to public service.
“Ron’s going to have tremendous influence in Flushing.”His one piece of advice to Kim: “Just keep being yourself.”
Across the aisle, Republican Phil Gim defeated rival Sunny Hahn by taking 288 votes, or 74 percent, to Hahn’s 101 votes, or 26 percent.
On his campaign website, Gim, who was endorsed by the Queens Republican Party, says his campaign is driven by the same values he’s lived by his whole life, hard work and perserverance.
“When I’m elected I’m going to work for every person in this community,” Gim says. “I’m going to do it because I live in this community, and I’ve worked in this community. I know that every decision I make will affect my friends and neighbors.”
The GOP leadership, in endorsing Gim, said party members had met over a period of two weeks to consider the contenders before deciding on their candidate.
“From the beginning, our priority has been to put forward strong candidates in targeted districts,“ said Phil Ragusa, the Queens GOP chairman. “The voters of Queens have shown that they will vote for citizen legislators over career politicians, and integrity and leadership over partisan brinksmanship. Phil Gim is our choice to bring some common sense to Albany.”
Gim is a third-generation American, a small business owner and former employee of the U.S. Postal Service. A New York City native, he has lived in Queens since 1986. He and his wife, Lucy, have been married for 27 years and have four children.
Election Day is Nov. 6.