If petition filings at the city Board of Elections office last week are any indication, Queens could be in for a roller coaster election season this fall.
Assuming all of the candidates pass the gauntlet of the petition approval process, there will be nine primaries, both Republican and Democrat, for congressional, state Senate and Assembly seats.
The Board of Elections is still reviewing all of the petitions, and has already found errors in several of them. Candidates had until midweek to correct discrepancies, and objections can be filed until July 20. The board has until July 27 to make its final determination, after which matters can still be contested in court. Challenges had been filed to several petitions earlier this week, and the process may end up eliminating some candidates.
Yet the first stage in the process reveals the potential for serious intra party drama on Sept. 12. Among the most closely watched races will be in Flushing, where four candidates have filed to become the Democratic nominee to replace Assemblyman Jimmy Meng, who is leaving at the end of the year for health reasons after one term in office.
Ellen Young, Grace Meng, Julia Harrison and Terence Park all filed petitions, although Park’s are being questioned by the board.
Grace is Meng’s daughter, while Young, a former aide to Councilman John Liu, has the endorsement of the Queens Democratic Party.
Republican Christopher Migliaccio has filed to be the one the winner will face in November.
Rory Lancman and Morshed Alam filed petitions to become the Democratic nominee to replace Brian McLaughlin, the holder of Flushing’s other Assembly seat, who also retires at the end of the year after 14 years in office.
Lancman, a member of Community Board 8 and a previous candidate for the state Senate, has the endorsement of the Queens Democratic Party. Alam is an immigrant from Bangladesh who moved to Queens 15 years ago and has run for office several times. Stuart Mirsky has filed to be the Republican candidate for this seat.
In Jamaica, former Councilman Allan Jennings is one of three challengers seeking to wrest the Democratic nomination from incumbent Sen. Ada Smith.
Both have attracted controversy. Smith, who has served nine terms in the Senate, was charged with harrassment for allegedly tossing hot coffee on a staff member earlier this year. Jennings represented Jamaica in the City Council for four years before he was voted out in 2005 following charges of sexual harassment and a televised attack on a news reporter.
District 28 Community Education Council President Shirley Huntley and anti gun advocate Liz Bishop Goldsmith both filed petitions in the race against Smith, although Huntley’s are being challenged by the Board of Elections. Rochdale Village activist Joseph Marthone, who was rumored to run, did not file petitions.
Bishop Goldsmith has 1,218 signatures and Jennings has 1,747, making it possible they will be eliminated from the race due to disqualifed signatures. A minimum of 1,000 valid signatures are required, and most candidates try to collect three times that number as a buffer. Smith collected more than 6,000 signatures, and Huntley 3,308.
On the Republican side, Jereline Hunter has filed to be the one to face the Democratic primary winner in November.
In Jackson Heights, Councilman Hiram Monserrate has filed to challenge incumbent Sen. John Sabini in the Democratic primary. Monserrate, who was elected to the City Council in 2001, will be term limited out in 2009. Sabini is in his third year in office.
In another Jackson Heights race, Carmen Enriquez has filed to challenge Assembly incumbent Jose Peralta for the Democratic nomination.
In Maspeth, Batholomew Bruno has filed to challenge nine term Sen. Serphin Maltese for the Republican nomination. Bruno’s petitions are also being challenged by the elections board, but if they pass, it will be the first primary challenge Maltese has faced in years. Democrat Albert Baldeo has filed to run for the seat in the general election.
Elsewhere, Michael Duvalle hopes to challenge Far Rockaway Assemblywoman Michele Titus in the Democratic primary, while Republicans Dolores Maddis and Walter Schmidt are contending to be the one to face Forest Hills Assembly Democrat Andrew Hevesi for his seat in November.
In the federal races, incumbent Congressman Joseph Crowley, whose district covers both Queens and the Bronx, is being challenged by Jose Serrano—no relation to Bronx Congressman Jose E. Serrano or his son, Bronx state Sen. Jose M. Serrano. Kevin Brawley is also in the race as a Republican.
Republican Miguel Gonzales has filed to run against Democratic incumbent Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, who represents Maspeth, Ridgewood, Glendale and Woodside. Republican Danniel Maio has filed to run against incumbent Democrat Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney in Long Island City and Astoria.