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Queens Chronicle

Queens Democrats make 2013 picks

Party backs Quinn, Katz, Saujani for mayor, boro prez, public advocate

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Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:42 am, Thu May 30, 2013.

The Queens County Democratic Party on Monday announced its endorsements three three citywide candidates, as well as its pick to be Borough Hall’s next occupant.

The borough’s Dems, led by Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, Bronx), are backing former Councilwoman Melinda Katz for borough president, Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) for mayor, Resham Saujani for public advocate and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer for comptroller.

“I am honored, humbled and deeply grateful for the support of the Queens County Democratic Party and our great chairman, Congressman Joe Crowley,” Katz said in a statement. “Together, we are building a campaign that will truly represent all of Queens and our wonderfully diverse communities, great neighborhoods and the limitless potential that exists in our borough.”

Katz emerged as a surprise choice to some after published reports on Friday pointed to Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), one of her five opponents, as the county’s likely pick.

The Queens Dems are the second county-wide party to announce endorsements after the Bronx, with Manhattan’s committee deciding to leave endorsements to individual clubs.

The endorsement of the party usually carries with it a substantial “get out the vote” operation and increased odds of winning the primary, set for Sept. 10 this year.

“The unrivaled diversity of Queens and the cohesion of the county Democratic Committee make this endorsement a key victory for our campaign,” Quinn said in a statement. “Queens County Democrats understand that we need a mayor who has a vision for improving the lives of middle class New Yorkers and those aspiring to enter it, and a candidate who doesn’t just talk about getting things done, but actually has a record of results.”

Saujani snatched the endorsement from a diverse field; her four opponents include state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn) and Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Brooklyn).

“I’m incredibly proud to have the support of the Queens Democrats in my campaign to create opportunity for all New Yorkers as public advocate, and I want to thank Representative Joe Crowley for his friendship and commitment to so many residents here in Queens,” she said. “As the daughter of immigrants, I am especially humbled to join with diverse voters in Queens to elect the first South Asian in the history of the City of New York.”

County Dems also made what some consider a surprise endorsement in the 19th Council District race to replace outgoing and embattled Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), picking political scion Paul Vallone.

“Now more than ever is the time to restore integrity and trust to the 19th City Council seat,” Vallone said. “I am humbled and privileged to have the district-wide support of our elected officials, district leaders, as well as our community and civic leaders.”

The party also selected District Leader Costa Constantinides as its candidate for the 22nd Council District in Astoria being vacated by Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria.)

“I’m very honored to have the support.” Constantinides said Wednesday.

The endorsement came as one of Constantinidies’ two opponents in September’s Democratic primary, Anthony Meloni, dropped out of the race this week due to “personal reasons, party unity and family considerations.” He added that he felt it was important for him to stay in his current job — executive director of Immigration Advocacy Service and New York Anti Crime Agency — in the wake of recent hate crime attacks.

The third candidate, Astoria attorney John Ciafone, remains in the race.

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