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Voters in south Queens will go to the polls Tuesday to choose their next City Council member in a special election after state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) vacated the seat.
A field of four candidates — Geraldine Chapey, Michael Ricatto, Lew Simon and Eric Ulrich — are on the ballot for the election, which by law is nonpartisan, meaning the candidates are barred from running with the affiliation of a political party.
Retired police lieutenant Glenn DiResto was knocked off the ballot Friday after an appelate judge ruled that a lower court made an error in allowing DiResto to change the name of the party he was running on.
Chapey challenged DiResto’s being on the ballot, claiming that his Families First party was too similar to the Working Families Party. Judge Phyllis Orlikoff Flug allowed DiResto to pick a new party designation before the appelate court overturned her decision.
All of the four candidates except Ricatto are district leaders within the 32nd Council District, which covers Howard Beach, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Broad Channel and part of the Rockaways.
Addabbo held the seat from 2001 until January, when he was sworn in as a state senator after defeating former state Sen. Serphin Maltese in the November election.
Including public matching funds received by the candidates, Ulrich led the pack with $125,890 raised.
Ricatto, despite not receiving any matching funds as of Feb. 13, was second with $120,355 raised.
They were followed by Chapey, who raised $95,298 including matching funds; Simon, who received $73,639; and DiResto, with $13,000.
As the race got underway, Ricatto suffered a setback when the driver of his campaign vehicle accidently struck and killed an 8-year-old boy who was crossing the street at Woodhaven and Rockaway boulevards in January.
The incident caused Ricatto to temporarily suspend his campaign.
Some of the candidates, including Ulrich, attacked Chapey for hiring an election attorney to try and get some of her opponents off the Feb. 24 ballot.
Chapey, a Democratic district leader from the Rockaways, was successful in ousting candidate Frank Gulluscio, a Democratic district leader and former Addabbo aide, and DiResto.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.
Note: This article has been updated since publication to reflect Glenn DiResto’s removal from the ballot.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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