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Huntley finds strength after she gets threat

The race between Lynn Nunes and state Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) heated up last week after the incumbent fought back against a threat left at her doorstep and the challenger collected a key endorsement.

Huntley, who is running against the 25-year-old in next month’s Democratic primary, stood among her fellow state legislators outside her home Aug. 11 to denounce an attack that was delivered to her home the day before. Someone left a bouquet of flowers with a ribbon that read “Rest in Peace” on her stoop around 6:15 a.m.

Huntley, who said she has received several threats and complaints since June in the form of phone calls and messages to her office, denounced the attack and said it would not affect her campaign or work.

“I want whoever is sending the message to me to know they made me stronger,” she said, in front of a who’s who of New York elected officials, including state Sens. John Sampson (D-Brooklyn), Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) and Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone).

Although no one at the news conference blamed any person or group for the morbid delivery, some hinted that it might have stemmed from Huntley’s critics who disagreed with her no-vote on the gay marriage bill that was defeated in the Senate last year.

Several gay rights groups and activists have publicly condemned the senator for her vote and have thrown their backing to Nunes. State Assemblyman William Scarborough (D-St. Albans) called on the perpetrator not to be a hypocrite.

“Those who say their rights have been violated should not go ahead and violate someone else’s rights,” he said.

Nunes, who received endorsements from gay rights groups The Human Rights Campaign and the Empire State Pride Agenda, denounced the attack in an e-mailed statement but did not attend the news conference.

“I stand with Sen. Shirley Huntley and our community in expressing shock and outrage at recent events and in agreement that there is no place in politics, government or campaigns for the malicious acts she has described,” he said. “I look forward to continuing our spirited campaign to represent our neighborhoods and neighbors in the state Senate.”

Nunes picked up another key endorsement from the city’s gay community last week. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), the city’s first openly gay Council speaker, officially backed the challenger’s run, according to her office.

“His dedication to his community and commitment to progressive values ensure that Lynn Nunes will deliver results for the hardworking families in southeast Queens and statewide,” Quinn said in a statement.

Nunes gratefully accepted the endorsement, citing her work for equality in New York.

“Her proven leadership during difficult budgetary times, energy in fighting for government reforms and commitment to civil rights for all New Yorkers serve as a model for public service,” he said.

Huntley has collected more than $111,264 in contributions and spent approximately $75,174 on her campaign so far, according to campaign finance records. Nunes has received $155,390 in contributions and spent approximately $29,085 on his run, records show.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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