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Queens Chronicle

A day at the races in western Queens

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Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2010 12:00 am

Candidates have turned in their petitions in western Queens, and though the City Board of Elections has not officially announced who will be running, the Queens Chronicle has compiled a list of likely suspects for competitive races in the area.

Aravella Simotas, an Astoria native endorsed by the Queens Democratic Party, was expecting to face off against fellow Democrat Jeremiah Frei-Pearson. However, after handing in signatures to the BOE, Frei-Pearson announced his intent to drop out of the race for Assembly in District 36, leaving his former Democratic opponent likely to battle Republican John Ciafone.

Ciafone, a lawyer with three residences in Queens, is running on the ballot using his mother’s home as his primary address. This move is expected to cause “a general objection,” according to Robert Hornak of the Queens Republican Party. In addition to being on the ballot as a Republican, Ciafone said he also expects to be running as an Independent and a Conservative.

Hiram Monserrate is back on the scene, reportedly running as a Democrat and challenging Francisco Moya, also a Democrat, for the Assembly seat in the 39th District, serving Jackson Heights and Corona. For those following this race, former Democratic challenger Bryan Pu-Folkes dropped out early on.

However, the fight is hardly over for Moya, who said Monserrate instigated an altercation when the two were collecting petitions in front of St. Leo’s Church in Corona.

The 39th Assembly District seat has been vacant since March, when now state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) won his seat in a special election, prompted by Monserrate’s ousting. Peralta will be running for Senate again against Republican Richard LaSalle.

The race between incumbent U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Queens and Manhattan) and newcomer Reshma Saujani, also a Democrat, has caught the eye of factcheck.org, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group for voters that “aims to reduce the level of deception in U.S. politics.” The website has targeted mailers sent out by the Saujani campaign, claiming they misrepresent Maloney and their own candidate by obscuring certain facts regarding the women’s use of special-interest funding.

Republican Dino LaVerghetta plans to liven up the District 14 congressional election, challenging Maloney on a platform of reducing spending. LaVerghetta would also like to repeal the new tax on indoor tanning. He says he will not vote the party line and would like to eliminate the don’t ask don’t tell policy in the armed forces. According to Hornak, two other Republican candidates, Roger Blank and Ryan Brumberg, are also expected to run, though they have not been endorsed by the party.

Long-term incumbent Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry (D-Corona) is facing a challenge in the form of former NYPD Officer Anthony Miranda, a Democrat running for office in District 35. Though Miranda is close friends with Hiram Monserrate, he would like to run without the stigma Monserrate often brings.

Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D-Jackson Heights) can breathe a sigh of relief. He said he does not, as of yet, know of anyone opposing him in the election for his seat in District 34.

Assemblyman Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) is not so lucky. Gianaris will be running for Senate in the 12th District. Though unopposed for many months, Republican-endorsed challenger Jerome Patrick Tina said he intends to run against Gianaris. Tina said he also hopes to be on the ballot as a Conservative.

U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens and Bronx) will likely be challenged by Ken Renolds, a Republican endorsed by the Bronx County GOP. Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Sunnyside) is said to be facing Republican challenger John Wilson.

Jacob Fischler contributed to this story.

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