Today’s news:

E. Elmhurst Council seat candidates to hold debate

At least three of the remaining five candidates vying for the City Council seat vacated by state Sen. Hiram Monserrate (D−East Elmhurst) will face off in a debate at the Langston Hughes Library this Thursday.

Julissa Ferreras, Monserrate’s former chief of staff; Eduardo Giraldo, former president of the Queens Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and Democratic district leader George Dixon all confirmed they would attend the event, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the library at 100−01 Northern Blvd.

The candidates are regrouping after facing challenges to the petition signatures that would qualify them for the special election ballot. Candidate Angel Del Villar, a Corona lawyer who ran unsuccessfully against Monserrate for the seat in 2001, was kicked off the ballot after Ferreras challenged him.

“His petitions were awful,” she said. “He was just randomly collecting signatures from Roosevelt Avenue. There’s a process. We invest a lot of time and energy to do things right.”

Del Villar could not be reached for comment.

Other candidates also fought off challenges to their petitions.

“Julissa challenged everyone,” Dixon said. “Mine in particular was challenged. They listed objections, the whole bit. They did their best because I’m in one of the strongest voting areas. Everyone is out to siphon off votes from the East Elmhurst area.”

Giraldo said his petitions were challenged unsuccessfully.

“They couldn’t follow through, because our job was good,” he said.

Ferreras had raised $51,894 in private funds, but had not yet received any matching funds from the city as of Tuesday.

“We had a little technical problem with our filing, but we’ll be getting our matching on Thursday,” she said, noting she expects to receive close to the maximum amount.

Moya, who raised $50,298, received $53,620 in matching funds, according to city Campaign Finance Board records. Eduardo Giraldo, who raised $43,506, received $58,719 in matching funds. George Dixon, who raised $14,330, received $37,512 in matching funds. Carlos Pena raised $13,882, but received no matching funds.

Ferreras leads the pack in endorsements, with health care, hotel and municipal employees unions, 14 current or former Council members and the Working Families Party.

Moya earned endorsements from U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D−Ridgewood), former state Sen. John Sabini and Democratic district leaders Barbara Jackson and James Lisa.

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

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