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Queens gets ready for ‘09 political musical chairs

With 35 of 50 seats in the City Council up for grabs next year because of term limits, western Queens politicians are beginning to get their campaigns in gear.

In District 21, which includes East Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights, Julissa Ferreras has announced her candidacy. Ferreras is chief of staff to current District 21 City Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-East Elmhurst).

Monserrate, who will be term-limited out of office in 2009, has the backing of the Queens County Democratic Party in his run for the state Senate. He will probably replace state Sen. John Sabini (D-Jackson Heights), who will not seek re-election in favor of an appointment to the state Racing and Wagering Board.

Ferreras will have to face civic leader Francisco Moya, who put forward a failed bid for a state Assembly seat in 2002 against Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights).

Ferreras has raised $22,934 so far. Moya's campaign had not filed any fund-raising reports with the city Campaign Finance Board by Tuesday.

Meanwhile, in District 25, which also covers parts of Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and Corona, district leader Daniel Dromm has raised $53,870. Dromm has not yet officially declared his candidacy, but is generally expected to run for the City Council seat being vacated by City Councilwoman Helen Sears (D-Jackson Heights).

"I think that we've done very well with the fund-raising efforts," Dromm said. "I'm very proud of the way that I've raised money: A lot of small donations from people who live in the district. I think that's really important."

Dromm is a public school teacher who recently received the endorsement of the United Federation of Teachers. His other endorsements include state Assemblymen Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) and Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove) and City Council members Rosie Mendez (D-Manhattan), Eric Gioia (D-Sunnyside) and Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans).

Dromm will probably have to contend with fellow Jackson Heights resident Alfonso Quiroz in the Democratic primary. Quiroz is Sears' former deputy chief of staff. He has raised $48,244 so far, but like Dromm has not declared which office he is seeking.

Another possible challenger for Sears' seat is Elmhurst insurance salesman Humberto Suarez Motta, who has mounted two bids for election to the state Legislature, Dromm said. Motta had not filed any fund-raising reports by press time Tuesday.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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