Today’s news:

Choe woos Korean-American leaders for District 20 seat

John Choe will hold a fund-raiser with Korean leaders in Flushing Monday, a move that could help buck criticisms of City Councilman John Liu’s (D-Flushing) former staffer that his support among the Korean community has been minimal.

According to his campaign, the fund-raiser took place at 7 p.m. at the 7 Train Theater at 134-37 35th Ave. Choe’s campaign said Korean-American leaders the Rev. John Kim, Korean American Association of Manhattan President Richard Lee and Metropolitan Supermarket Association President Mun Kwan Cha attended and Choe also received statements of support from Korean-American U.S. Sens. Paul Shin (D-Wash.) and John Lim (D-Ore.).

Support in the Korean-American community could be crucial for Choe, who is a Korean immigrant, in the crowded District 20 Democratic primary. As it stands, there are two Korean candidates in Choe and S.J. Jung, two Chinese candidates in James Wu and Yen Chou and two white candidates in Constantine Kavadas and Isaac Sasson on the Democratic line. Republican candidate Peter Koo and Green Party candidate Evergreen Chou are also Chinese.

The last time such a split occurred in an election in Flushing was in the 2006 22nd Assembly District primary between Ellen Young, who is Chinese; Terence Park, who is Korean; and Julia Harrison, who is white. The vote was split nearly evenly, with Young taking a narrow victory. Park himself bowed out of this year’s City Council race because he said it would be difficult to win with three candidates splitting the Korean vote.

Other candidates and community leaders have claimed Choe does not have support among Korean Americans in District 20 because he is perceived as an advocate of the North Korean government, due to his past involvement in Nodutdol. Choe is a co-founder of the group, which in part advocates for the eventual reunification of North and South Korea.

Choe has said he would like to see peace between the two nations and does not deny his involvement with Nodutdol, but says his positions on Korea have no bearing on his role in representing the people of District 20.

His campaign has dismissed any criticism of a politically motivated attempt to tarnish Choe’s character.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at sstirling@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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