Six candidates vying for disgraced former City Councilman Dan Halloran's seat in the 19th district of Queens are expected at a debate tonight.
The Democratic contenders include lawyer Paul Vallone, former Assemblyman John Duane, former state Democratic spokesman Austin Shafran, urban planner Paul Graziano and former Halloran chief of staff Chrissy Voskerichian. The lone Republican in the race is lawyer Dennis Saffran.
The race for the seat was blown wide open when Halloran, a Republican, announced in May that he would not be seeking a second term following his arrest on allegations that he was involved in a bribery scandal.
Shafran is leading the fundraising race with Vallone, Duane, Saffran trailing close behind and Graziano and Voskerichian far in the background.
The issues within the district can all be folded into the phrase "quality of life": public safety, education, zoning, overdevelopment.
The forum will be held at the Temple Beth Sholom at 171-39 Northern Blvd. in Flushing, Queens. It's expected to run from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The forum is co-sponsored by Gotham Gazette's sister organization, Citizens Union, as well as the MinKwon Center, Flushing Jewish Community Council and Korean Community Services.