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Contested State Assembly Seats

by Gotham Gazette Staff, Sep 11, 2006
 

These are the State Assembly districts that will have primaries on Tuesday, Sept. 12. (Incumbents' names are in boldface)

Queens

District 22 (Flushing): Democratic primary
• Julia Harrison
• Terrence Park
• Ellen Young

Two years ago, Jimmy Meng surprised many political observers when he beat an incumbent in the Democratic primary and became the first Asian American in the state legislature. Now, Meng has decided not to run again because of health problems. His daughter, Grace Meng, wanted the seat but her bid faltered when she was thrown off the ballot because she did not live in the district.

Remaining in the race are Young, a former aide to City Councilmember John Liu; Park, a district leader who successfully challenged efforts to disqualify him; and Harrison, a former City Council member. With Harrison having been charged with making anti-Asian comments in the past -- and with two Asian candidates running - race and the changing character of Flushing promise to be key issues.

For more, see Gotham Gazette's "Ethnic Politics in Changing Flushing." To read the transcript of a debate between the three candidates, click here.

District 25 (Flushing, Whitestone) Democratic primary:
Morshed Alam
Rory Lancman

This seat is open, as Brian McLaughlin has decided not to seek re-election. McLaughlin said he wants to devote ore time to his post as leader of New York's Central Labor Council, but he has been investigated - though not charged - for possible involvement in a bid-rigging scheme.

Lancman is an attorney, community board member and Democratic district leader. An environmental scientist for the city, Alam, who is from Bangledsh, bills himself as "a prime example of a new breed of immigrant politicians who are enthusiastic about democracy and are beginning to claim their rightful places in the mainstream of American politics."

For more, see the Queens Chronicle.

District 28 (Forest Hills, Rego Park, Middle Village, Glendale): Republican primary
• Dolores Maddis
• Walter E. Schmidt

In one of only three GOP primaries for state legislature in the city, Maddis, a community activist who has the party's endorsement, and Schmidt, a machinist long involved in politics, are competing for the right to take on incumbent Andrew Hevesi in November. For more, see the Queens Chronicle.

District 39 (Jackson Heights, Corona): Democratic primary
Carmen Enriquez
• Jose Peralta

Peralta was elected to the Assembly I 2002, when he was only 30 - and before that he worked as an aide to another member of the Assembly. Enriquez is challenging him but little information about her was available.

Brooklyn

District 40 (East New York, Brownsville): Democratic primary
• Kenneth Evans
• Diane Gordon
• Winchester Key

Gordon, who was first elected in 2000, has been indicted for taking a bribe (a half a million dollar home) in exchange for helping a developer get a $2 million vacant lot. But according to the Room Eight blog, few in her district seem to know of the criminal charges, which probably bodes well for Gordon. Key served as an aide to Gordon's legislative predeccessor, Ed Griffith. And Evans has held various community service posts, including serving as Brooklyn director of the Urban League.

District 43 (Crown Heights, Flatbush): Democratic primary
Karim Camara
Jesse Hamilton

For years, Brooklyn Democratic leader Clarence Norman held this post. But in 2005, following a conviction for soliciting and receiving illegal campaign contributions, Norman had to resign. Since it was too late for a primary, the party organization chose Camara, a reverend and colleague of Clarence Norman's father, to take the fallen leader's place. In the overwhelmingly Democratic district, that virtually guaranteed his election. But this time Camara has an opponent. Hamilton is a longtime employee of the city finance department, comumnity board member and former community school board president.

District 46 (Bay Ridge, Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Dyker Heights, Marlboro, Sea Gate): Democratic primary
Alec Brook-Krasny
Ari Kagan

This race is to fill the seat left vacant by the retirement of Adele Cohen. Brook-Krasny, the founder of Fun-o-Rama, a now closed entertainment center, is executive director of the Council of Jewish ?migr? Community Organization. He reportedly has widespread backing and, if he wins, would become the first of the late 20th century wave of Soviet immigrants to hold elected office in New York City. So, presumably, would Kagan, an immigrant from Minsk and journalist.

District 56: (Tompkins Park North, Weeksville, Bedford-Stuyvesant): Democratic primary
Annette Robinson
• Richard Taylor

A former member of the City Council, Robinson was elected to the Assembly in 2002. With term limits about to end her time on the council, Robinson for all intents and purposes arranged to swap posts with Al Vann, then a member of the Assembly and now a council member. Taylor, a former district leader, ran unsuccessfully against her in 2002.

District 57 (Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, ProspectHeights, Flatbush, parts of Park Slope, Bedford-Stuyvesant): Democratic primary
William Batson
Freddie Hamilton
Hakeem Jeffries

Three candidates are competing in a spirited contest to fill the seat held by Roger Green, who is running for Congress. A major issue in the race is the Atlantic Yards project, with Hamilton believing the arena and apartments will help the district, Batson opposing the development, and Jeffries wanting some changes in the current plan.

For more on the race, see Gotham Gazette's Succeeding Green in Fort Greene - and Beyond.

District 59 (Flatlands, Canarsie, Mill Island, Bergen Beach): Democratic primary
• Abraham Levy
• Alan Maisel

Maisel is a very recent incumbent. He gained his post earlier this year after the previous member of the Assembly, Frank Seddio, left to take a seat on Surrogate's Court -- a seat many charged was the result of political skulduggery. Maisel, an aide to Seddio, then got his boss's job.

Staten Island

District 60 (eastern shore Staten Island): Republican primary
Joseph Cammarata
Anthony C. Xanathis

Two Republicans are vying for the seat being vacated by Republican Assemblymember Matthew Mirones. Xanathis, a lawyer and unpaid former aide to Mirones, has the outgoing assembly member's endorsement and the lead in fundraising. Cammarata has been a teacher, police officer and detetctive. For more on this little-noticed contest, read Gotham Gazette's A Low-Key Race for An Open Seat in Staten Island.

Manhattan

District 68 (Harlem): Democratic primary
Edward Gibbs
Adam Clayton Powell IV
John Ruiz

Powell, the son of legendary congressmember Adam Clayton Powell, has served in the State Assembly since 2000 and, before that, was a member of the City Council. Two years ago, following two rape allegations (Powell was cleared in both cases), Powell fought back aggressive challenges. This year, one of the men who tried last time, fire fighter and district leader John Ruiz, is running again, along with Gibbs.

District 69 (Manhattan Valley, Morningside Heights): Democratic primary
Daniel J. O'Donnell
• Francisco Spies

First elected in 2002, O'Donnell, Rosie O'Donnell's brother, says he is the first openly gay man elected to the State Assembly. Spies ran unsuccessfully for the post in 2002.

District 72 (Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill): Democratic primary
Francesca Castellanos
Adriano Espaillat
• Miguel Estrella

Espaillat, the first Dominican elected to a state legislature in the U.S., has served in Albany since 1997. He is facing challenges from Castellanos, a certified rape crisis counselor, immigration counselor, interpreter and tenants activist, and from Estrella.

District 74 (Downtown and Eastside of Manhattan): Democratic primary
Sylvia Freidman
Brian Kavanagh
Juan Pagan
Esther Yang

How quickly does an incumbent reap the advantages of being an incumbent? Friedman hopes it is merely a matter of months. Last winter, the Democratic Party anointed the schoolteacher, community activist, and former aide to Mark Green as the successor to veteran Assemblymember Steve Sanders. Kavanagh, a longtime city employee and former aide to Councilmember Gale Brewer, wants to oust Friedman before she gets entrenched. He has garnered support from the Times and Citizens Union, the parent organization of Citizens Union Foundation, which publishes Gotham Gazette, while Friedman has won the endorsements of many leading Democrats. Longtime activist Ester Yang and Juan Pagan, who is involved in a number of commuity organizations, are also candidates.

To read a debate among Kavanagh, Friedman and Yang click here.

Bronx

District 77 (Highbridge, Morrisania): Conservative primary
• Anthony Curry
• Kathleen Larkins

This is the one Conservative Party contest on the ballot Tuesday.

District 79 (Morrisania, Claremont, Crotona-Mapes, Longwood, Charlotte Gardens, Belmont): Democratic primary

Michael Benjamin
• Sigfredo Gonzalez
• Wilbert Tee Lawton

In 2003, Benjamin, a Bronx Board of Elections official, became one of those instant incumbents when the Democratic Party chose him to replace Gloria Davis, who quit the Assembly and plead guilty to bribery charges. He won re-election in 2004 and considered a run against Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum last year. This year, still in the Assembly, Benjamin faces a challenge from Gonzalez, who also used to work at the Board of Elections and, no doubt based on what he learned there, submitted 6,000 signatures -- more than 10 times the required 500 for the post. District leader Lawton is also on the ballot.

District 80 (Pelham Parkway, Morris Park, Pelham Bay, Van Cortlandt Village, Norwood, Bedford Park): Democratic primary

Naomi Rivera

Naomi Rivera, the daughter of Bronx Democratic leader and State Assemblymember Jose Rivera and the sister of City Councilmember Joel Rivera, is finishing her first term in the State Assembly. Thompson, a retired police detective and Community Board member, ran against her two years ago.  

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