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Avella to run for Queens borough president

State Sen. Tony Avella plans to run for the Queens borough president office.
TimesLedger Newspapers

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) has decided to throw his hat into next year’s race for Queens borough president, the lawmaker told TimesLedger Newspapers Monday.

Avella was rumored to be mulling a run for months, but made up his mind in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, he said, after witnessing the borough being passed over for recovery resources that went to Manhattan and Brooklyn instead.

“I thought we should have had a much more active borough president and much more of a coordinating effort from the office of the borough president,” Avella said. “That convinced me Queens needs a voice.”

Avella is fresh off winning re-election to his northeast Queens seat earlier this month, where he captured nearly 60,000 votes, according to records from the city Board of Elections, a number the lawmaker believes makes capturing the boroughwide spot viable.

In the 2009 Democratic primary, where current Queens Borough President Helen Marshall ran against Marc Leavitt and Robert Schwartz, she won with 56,000 votes, according to BOE documents. Nearly five times that number voted in the 2009 general election, but in heavily Democratic Queens, the primary often dictates the results of the general election.

The competition is already stacking up. Avella’s colleague, state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), has already announced a run. Like Avella, Peralta was re-elected earlier this month. He ran unopposed, and fetched about 45,000 votes — 15,000 fewer than Avella.

Melinda Katz, former City Councilwoman and state Assemblywoman, has also announced she will run, as has City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and Deputy Queens Borough President Barry Grodenchik. The name of City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) is also often bandied about as a possible contender, although he has not announced his intentions.

Avella is counting on support in his strongholds and name recognition around the borough to best the other Democrats in the race. He pointed out he was former Mayor Ed Koch’s Queens representative, is known to cross into the districts of his colleagues to help residents and also received more than 60,000 votes when he ran for mayor in 2009.

“I think we have a real shot, and so far the reaction has been positive,” he said.

Avella is set to meet with the U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), the head of the Queens Democratic Party, to seek an endorsement, but the lawmaker said he is in the race regardless of Crowley’s decision.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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Reader Feedback

Alfredo C. from Whitestone says:
The more candidates the better. After the absence of our Boro President post Sandy, it is clear we need someone who will work for Queens.

We have had our share of useless Boro presidents in Queens. It is a shame that such a great Boro has been sold out the way it has.

Queens needs someone who is not a slave to interest groups. Someone who is not afraid to tell the developers NO! NOT HERE! NOT LIKE THIS!

Someone who cares what happens in the Boro.

I wish Senator Avella ( I amcertain he would be an excellent choice), as well as the other candidates luck. I hope , for the sake of my beloved Boro , more candidates throw their hat in the ring. I hope it does not come down to which candidate can raise the most money, or has "party support". I hope it comes downtown who will do the best job representing the taxpayers of Queens.
Nov. 26, 2012, 5:43 pm
Adam from Auburndale says:
I would like to know why Melinda Katz was not mentioned in her present occupation as a government lobbyist. All of the other candidate's present occupation were mentioned.

What gives?
Nov. 26, 2012, 6:37 pm
Carsten G. from Flushing says:
Irregardless of his political affiliation, the Democratic party and what they stand for I must say that Avella has been a strong supporter of numerous communities across Queens, even out of his district like the Kissena Pk area. I've heard and seen more of what Avella has done as Councilmember and Senator than the cherry tree loving Marshall who is simply taking up space in that new Atrium being built at Queens Boro Hall.
Nov. 26, 2012, 6:45 pm
Gene from Flushing says:
Hey Al, why don't you throw your hat in the ring.
Nov. 26, 2012, 7:45 pm
Henry Euler from Bayside says:
Tony Avella will make an excellent borough president for Queens County. He fought for rezoning of our neighborhoods and community preservation. Among all of the Democratic elected officials, you can not top Avella for being a voice for the people and for caring about the quality of life in our neighborhoods.
Nov. 26, 2012, 9:11 pm
Lou from Bayside says:
Perfect , a match made in heaven! Helen Marshalls office would never address concerns or get back to you and neither does Tony Avellas office. He will be perfect!
Nov. 26, 2012, 10:34 pm
Carl from Douglaston says:
It is encouraging that there are capable elected officials who are motiivated to seek this important, and effectively vacated office.
The election should not be decided by a fraction of the voters in a primary and therefore I hope that a capable person with a strong management background, either in the private or public sector, secures the Republican nomination.
Then all of the voters can select the better candidate: a two party system, quite a concept!
Nov. 27, 2012, 5:44 pm
Donny Moss from Greenwich Village says:
Senator Avella has been an advocate for disenfranchised and underserved NYers in Manhattan too - even when he had nothing to gain politically.
Nov. 27, 2012, 11:30 pm
joe papillo from Trinity < Fl. says:
Don't count on dem/leader joe Crowley for an endorsement. Two to one it goes to Melinda Katz.
Nov. 29, 2012, 7:11 pm

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