Gotham Gazette

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Gotham Votes 2013

5 City Council Races To Watch

For voters in a handful of City Council districts, the primary was just a warm-up to the main event: the general election on Nov. 5. Here are five races to watch for the next phase of the campaign. 

Queens 19th City Council District: The primary race for embattled Councilman Dan Halloran's seat was one of the most down-to-the-wire races of the campaign season.

The concession by Democratic candidate Austin Shafran last Tuesday left lawyer Paul Vallone as the last man standing from a five-person Democratic field. Vallone narrowly escaped the primary, winning by just 193 votes, according to The Daily News. But Vallone's toughest challenge may still be ahead: Republican candidate Dennis Saffran in the general election.

Saffran, also a lawyer, is not a stranger to close races, having lost to Democrat Tony Avella by one percent of the vote in the 2001 election to represent the 19th district.

Staten Island's 50th City Council District. Staten Island also looks to have a close race on its hands as it looks to replace outgoing Republican Councilman James Oddo, who is running for borough president.

Republican candidate Steven Matteo and Democrat John Mancuso won their respective primaries. Mancuso has served as chief of staff to Brooklyn Councilman Vincent Gentile and Matteo is currently Oddo's chief of staff.

The candidates' positions on Sandy recovery and improving infrastructure and services on Staten Island may tilt the election towards one candidate or the other.

Brooklyn's 48th City Council District. Just as Sandy is affecting the Staten Island City Council race, the storm may influence the result of the 48th district.

Chaim Deutsch rose to the top of the crowded Democratic field and defeated second-place Ari Kagan by less than four percent of the vote.

The race for the southern Brooklyn Council seat is now between Deutsch and Republican David Storobin, who ran unopposed in the primary.

Deutsch has the support of his former boss and current 48th district Councilman Mike Nelson whereas Storobin has the support of Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota.

Whichever candidate can win over the Russian, Arabic and Orthodox Jewish communities that dominate the district will have a lot of support going into the general election.

Queens 24th City Council District. Republican candidate Alex Blishteyn and former Assemblyman Rory Lancman

who blew out the competition in the Democratic primary, receiving nearly 62 percent of the vote have their sights set on the 24th district City Council seat.

Both Lancman and Blishteyn are vying to replace term-limited Councilman James Gennaro and address many of the districts "quality of life" issues.

Another Queens contest worth keeping an eye on is the challenge Democratic Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley is facing for her seat by Republican Craig Caruana.

Queens 30th City Council District. Crowley is running for a second term to represent the 30th district. Crowley's first term has been marked by declining power after being reprimanded by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn multiple times. Crowley may not have the edge most candidates enjoy by being the incumbent.

Caruana doesn't have local government experience but has worked for the Navy, the Pentagon and Fox News before becoming a community activist according to his campaign website.

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