State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) dropped out of the race for Queens borough president last Friday.
The move follows the Queens County Democratic Organization’s endorsement 11 days earlier of Melinda Katz, a former city councilwoman and state assemblywoman, for the job.
“In the best interests of my campaign, my family and the Queens Democratic party, I am ending my bid for borough president effective immediately and will be supporting Melinda Katz,” Peralta said in a prepared statement.
Barry Grodenchik, the deputy to outgoing Borough President Helen Marshall, also dropped his bid for the job after the county committee announced its endorsement of Katz. Still in the running against Katz are state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and City Councilmen Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria).
The winner will face Republican candidate Tony Arcabascio of Astoria, a business technology professional who ran against state Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) last year. Arcabascio received the GOP endorsement May 29.
Katz said in a statement that she is “very happy” to have Peralta’s endorsement.
“He has been a leader in the all-important advocacy for immigrant rights in our state, which includes labor protections for immigrant workers and financial assistance for immigrant students through the Dream Act,” Katz said. “With his help, I will continue to fight hard for the residents of Queens in Borough Hall.
Peralta was among those elected officials recorded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation having conversations with disgraced ex-state Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica), who recently pleaded guilty to state and federal corruption charges. But last month, shortly after the government released the names of those officials it had recorded, Peralta put out a statement assuring his constituents that the FBI told him he was not being investigated for any wrongdoing.
In last Friday’s statement, the senator said, “I want to thank the thousands of Queens residents and civic and community leaders that I had the pleasure of meeting during the course of the campaign. Your warm reception of my candidacy and your encouragement and support are enormously appreciated.
“I want to assure you that, though I am discontinuing my campaign, I will continue my fight foraffordable housing, tougher gun laws and more classroom seats to alleviate overcrowding in our schools.I will also continue to promote ideas and develop legislation to help spur economic development and grow jobs.”