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Queens Chronicle

Stavisky overcomes challenges by two

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Posted: Thursday, September 16, 2010 12:00 am

Facing two challengers in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, incumbent state Sen. Toby Stavisky took 45 percent of the vote, virtually guaranteeing her re-election in November.

Stavisky, of Flushing, who has represented the 16th District since 1999, has no Republican opposition in the upcoming election. She will once again face Conservative challenger Robert Schwartz, but he is not expected to pose a threat.

The incumbent garnered 6,475 votes. Stavisky’s challengers, Isaac Sasson took 34 percent (4,874 votes) and John Messer 20 percent (2,965). Sasson of Flushing, a Lottery millionaire and retired scientist, ran for John Liu’s City Council seat last year and also ran unsuccessfully in 2003 for the same position.

Messer, a political newcomer, is not well known in the district. He lives in Oakland Gardens and practices law on Long Island.

Stavisky is a former high school teacher who was the first Queens woman elected to the state Senate and is chairwoman of its Committee on Higher Education.

At a victory party Tuesday night at Sullivan’s Grill in Bayside, Stavisky said while she was campaigning, a lot of people told her to clean up Albany “and the voters have spoken.” Surrounded by elected officials and candidates from northern Queens, she added: “This is a victory for everybody.”

The incumbent vowed to continue pushing for jobs, economic development and education funding and “repairing and cleaning up Albany.” She also supports strict campaign finance reform and favors a nonpartisan redistricting commission “to help take the politics out of drawing district lines.”

The 16th District includes College Point, Flushing, Whitestone, Bay Terrace, Fresh Meadows, Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Rego Park and parts of Bayside, Forest Hills and Elmhurst.

During her primary campaign, Stavisky attended numerous events and thanked Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) for her support and help as a politician and for being a friend.

Standing with Ed Braunstein, who won the Democratic primary for the 26th District seat being vacated by Ann Carrozza, Stavisky said “We are on our way to a big victory.”

Having her victory party with Braunstein was a way to show party unity, she noted. Offering their support were Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens), Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), Meng, Tony Avella, who is running against state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose), and Democratic District Leader Carol Gresser.

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