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Three vie for Katz’s seat as she eyes comptroller spot

City Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills) led the field of contenders in the city comptroller race as of the most recent filing deadline July 15, raking in $2,111,835, much of it from the developers with whom she has done business since 2001.

Katz, who is chairwoman of the City Council Land Use Committee, is one of four candidates vying for votes for the seat, alongside City Council Finance Committee Chairman David Weprin (D-Hollis), City Councilman David Yassky (D-Brooklyn) and state Assemblyman James Brennan (D-Brooklyn). The only candidate who is not term limited out of a job in 2009 is Brennan.

Katz's campaign fund is almost $300,000 larger than that of Weprin, her closest rival in fund-raising, but she has spent more than $775,000 to date — more than double the amount Weprin has spent and at least three times that of Yassky or Brennan.

In Forest Hills, former state Assemblyman Michael Cohen a has two challengers in the race for Katz's Council as he seeks a new chance to represent his old district closer to home.

Cohen has raised $19,302 for his campaign for City Council, according to a filing last week with the city Campaign Finance Board. Cohen had represented Forest Hills in Assembly but resigned from the seat in 2005 when his wife became ill, and was succeeded by Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) in a special election.

But name recognition is not a slam-dunk in the Council race.

Cohen ranks second in the money department after Community Board 6 member Lynn Schulman, who has a campaign chest of $28,072, according to the Campaign Finance Board. And Hevesi staffer Robert DeLay has filed $1,645 in contributions with the board.

Cohen's money comes from only 23 donors, among them the Amalgamated Transit Union's and education-focused Local 891's COPE funds and the Federal Express New York State PAC.

Schulman, who published reports count as one of Queens' openly gay candidates, has received support from Gay Men's Health Crisis and several people affiliated with the Manhattan-based LGBT Center, as well as many attorneys, nonprofit organizations, consultants and people involved in government and community affairs.

Robert DeLay's campaign chest has come in small donations from private individuals, mostly residents within the district.

In June, Queens Deputy Borough President Karen Koslowitz announced her intention to run for Katz's seat — which she had held until 2001 — but has not yet filed anything with the city.

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