Political endorsements often mean more to the candidate than to the voting public, but some are more meaningful than others.
In the crowded Democratic race in the 19th District to replace Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), who is not seeking re-election, five contenders are attempting to stand out in the voters’ eyes.
So, this week’s announcement by the Paul Vallone camp, who is the Queens Democratic Party’s pick, came as a bit of a surprise. His latest endorsement is from Kevin Kim, who opposed him in a bitter 2009 primary for the same seat and won.
“It’s time to restore honest, Democratic leadership to the 19th City Council District and I can think of no better candidate to do that in this primary than Paul Vallone,” Kim said earlier this week.
Halloran, who beat Kim in the last election, has been charged with bribery and related crimes. He will go to trial next year.
Kim said he favored Vallone because of his “devotion to his family” and his “strong commitment to Northeast Queens.”
Kim, an attorney, worked at one time as deputy director of community affairs for then-Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Queens, Nassau). Ackerman, however, recently endorsed another 19th District candidate, Austin Shafran, who also worked for the former congressman as a community liaison several years ago.
Others in the Democratic race are Paul Graziano, John Duane and Chrissy Voskerichian. The winner will face Republican Dennis Saffran in the November election.
Voskerichian announced this week her endorsement by former City Councilwoman Julia Harrison (D-Flushing). “She has deep roots in her community and counts among her many volunteer activities her leadership as president of the 109th Precinct Community Council,” Harrison said.
“With Chrissy as our councilwoman, we will have the strong voice of a leader of integrity, devoted to helping people, thoroughly aware of our cares and community concerns,” she added. “It is my honor and privilege to endorse Chrissy for election to become our councilwoman on Tuesday, Sept. 10th.”
On the Republican side, Saffran reported this week that he has raised nearly three times as much as any of his potential Democratic opponents in the two most recent filings with the Campaign Finance Board. He has raked in $40,907.
During the same two filing periods, none of the Democrats were able to raise more than $14,575 (by Shafran). Shafran has raised the most in total with $101,797, followed by Vallone with $84,745; Duane with $80,095; Graziano with $23,308 and Voskerichian with $21,535. Saffran’s total is $56,258.
Halloran has also been making news recently. Aside from reopening his law office, the councilman is seeking to have the charges dropped against him based on a loophole in the law. There has been no response from the government on the motion to dismiss.
Finally, Halloran is taking credit for helping his constituents, who received incorrect voting poll information from the city. They were told by the Board of Elections to vote in Rego Park rather than their normal sites in Malba, Whitestone and Beechhurst.
The BOE admitted a glitch in transposing ZIP codes caused the mistake and said new notices would be mailed.