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Vallone leads in fund−raising for Bayside Council seat

City Council hopeful Paul Vallone leads a c0rowded field of contenders in fund−raising in the race for Councilman Tony Avella’s (D−Bayside) District 19 seat, which includes four other Democrats and two Republicans, according to records filed with the city Campaign Finance Board.

Vallone, a Bayside attorney and brother of Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D−Astoria), is one of five Democrats running for the seat, which covers Bayside, Auburndale, Little Neck, College Point, Douglaston, East Flushing, Malba and Whitestone.

The other Democratic contenders include Jerry Iannece, Debra Markell, Steven Behar and Tom Cooke. Republicans in the running include Dan Halloran and Joseph Gravagna.

Avella, first elected in 2001 and who has opposed extending term limits, is a contender in the mayoral race against Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He has said he will not seek a third term in his Council seat.

Vallone has raised $95,568 and spent $49,368 in his campaign for Avella’s seat, according to city campaign finance records. The race marks his first bid for elected office.

Iannece, a Bayside lawyer who formerly worked as an assistant district attorney and served as chairman of Bayside’s Community Board 11, is running second in fund−raising efforts. The former president of the Bayside Hills Civic Association has raised a total of $59,855 and spent $9,432, records show. Iannece ran for the seat in 1997 and again in 2001.

Markell, a Whitestone resident who is the district manager for Long Island City’s Community Board 2, comes in third on fund−raising efforts. She has raised $38,210 and spent $29,577.

Behar, a Bayside attorney who also runs a real estate company with his brother, has raised $15,330 and spent $18,111, Avella has endorsed Behar in the Council race.

Cooke, a disabled veteran who has acted as board chairman for the United Spinal Association since July 2008, has raised $440 and not spent any money in the race so far, the city records show. In 2006, he ran the campaign of Democrat Nora Marino, who challenged state Sen. Frank Padavan (R−Bellerose).

Neither Republican candidate has raised nor spent any money in the race even though they are listed with the Campaign Finance Board as candidates.

Dan Halloran, a Whitestone attorney who has taken on criminal and civil cases, works with a Long Island law firm, while Joseph Gravagna, of Whitestone, works in sales.

During his tenure, Avella has focused on a variety of issues, including rezoning portions of Bayside, Flushing and Whitestone, as well as landmarking historic sites in his district and preventing overdevelopment.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

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