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Queens Chronicle

Dueling candidates, dueling mayoral endorsements

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Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2012 10:30 am

This week Mayor Bloomberg, he of many parties, announced his endorsement of Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) in the race for the newly redrawn 6th Congressional District.

“New Yorkers demand representation in Washington that puts the needs of the taxpayers ahead of partisan politics,” the mayor said in announcing the endorsement. “Grace Meng will be the independent voice in Congress that middle-class families in Queens deserve.”

Bloomberg cited Meng’s positions on gun control and immigration reform as ones he supports. Both have been top concerns of the sometimes conservative, sometimes liberal mayor.

Meng’s opponent, City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), immediately put out a statement blasting the endorsement as another of the “nanny state mayor’s bad ideas.”

“Whether it’s the soda ban, his congestion pricing schemes, or the bike lanes to nowhere, Mayor Mike has found another bad idea for New Yorkers: Grace Meng in Congress,” Halloran said.

And, the very next day, the councilman announced on his Facebook page that the previous mayor, Rudy Giuliani, was inviting supporters to a dinner party for Halloran at Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Giuliani, of course, is a Republican loyalist highly unlikely to endorse any Democrat. His support for Halloran is no surprise, and less interesting to political junkies than the independent Bloomberg’s decision to back Meng.

Avella for borough president?

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) is considering a run for Queens borough president, the New York Post has reported. He would be joining an already crowded field of possible candidates, consisting, at the very least, of Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and former Councilwoman Melinda Katz, a Forest Hills Democrat.

Avella’s known for his independence and willingness to buck the system to serve his constituents’ best interests as he sees them. He ran a Democratic primary challenge against then-Comptroller Bill Thompson in the last mayoral election. He essentially called a fellow state lawmaker a liar in an open letter in June 2011, saying she had “purposely misled the community” with “erroneous and rather deceitful remarks.”

Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead; that’s Tony the Tiger’s style. He would make the race for the Democratic nomination for borough president even more interesting. Seeing him go up against another lawmaker who speaks his mind, Vallone, would be especially entertaining —and substantive. Other hopefuls like Katz and Comrie also bring a lot to the table, but are much more reserved in their approach.

And of course if there’s a Republican thinking of running, he’d just be a sacrificial lamb. The Queens GOP is such a circular firing squad anyway, it’s hard to see it fielding a serious boroughwide candidate for anything until it gets its house in order. And don’t hold your breath waiting for that.

Ulrich vs. Addabbo

One race where the Republicans do have a real shot — despite the best efforts of the Queens county leadership — is the one pitting Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) against state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) for the 15th District seat. That’s sure to be a knuckle-biter right up to Election Day, Nov. 6.

This week Ulrich announced that he had won the endorsement of the firefighters’ union, as well as the fire officers’ union. Those are key. But so is the United Federation of Teachers, which is backing Addabbo. A report this week says the teachers’ union may be spending half-a-million dollars to help Addabbo win.

Fliers in support of either candidate have been flooding mailboxes in southern and central Queens. Calls are being made. Addabbo may have an edge in that his party establishment is uniformly on his side, but even though Ulrich is at war with the Queens GOP leadership, the state party is with him 100 percent. Both parties are likely to go all out in this race, given the tiny edge the Republicans hold in the Senate, and the Democrats’ oh-so-recent memories of being in the majority themselves.

Addabbo-Ulrich debate Oct. 18

If you can’t get enough of the Ulrich-Addabbo race, we’ve got just the thing for you. Leave your calendar open the night of Oct. 18, and head down to the debate the Queens Chronicle is sponsoring in conjunction with the Forum newsgroup and Citizens Union, the good government organization.

It’ll be held at 7:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Grace Church, located at 100-05 159 Ave. in Howard Beach. All are welcome. There’s no presidential debate that night, and you know what? There’s none of the silly choreography that goes with the big boys either. This is the real thing: two candidates, countless issues and an audience that just might include you.

Welcome to the discussion.