One of the most closely watched Congressional races this year will be the newly created 6th Congressional District in Queens, where three Democrats are already running, and on Monday, Republican City Councilman Dan Halloran officially joined the fray. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
It can be lonely being a Republican in New York. There are only after all two Republican Congressman representing the city. But the GOP got behind City Councilman Dan Halloran, believing he could be the next one. Flushing, Queens
"This is a gentleman who knows how to forge solutions. He's principled, he's hard-working, he's got guts," said former Congressman Rick Lazio.
On Monday in Flushing, Queens, Halloran officially kicked off his campaign for the seat held by the retiring Gary Ackerman, whose district has been redrawn. It is now entirely in Queens and is almost 40 percent Asian.
"We are in this to win it," Halloran said.
On the Democratic side, Assemblywoman Grace Meng has the backing of county leaders, but faces a primary challenge from Assemblyman Rory Lancman and City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley.
Halloran, who is not expected to face a primary, said ethnicity should not be a factor.
"I think it's high time we all starting asking the question, who's going to make the best representative, not whether the representative is Jewish or Catholic or white or Asian," he said.
Halloran has defeated an Asian-American candidate before, winning a bruising City Council race in 2009 against Democrat Kevin Kim, when Halloran's pagan religion was made a campaign issue, something he made veiled reference to Monday.
"It's time to talk about our values in our community, and remember that God is part of the equation, however we see him," said Halloran. "This race will not be distracted by non-issues at any time."
While the Democrats in the race were already hitting Halloran Monday on issues like women's reproductive rights, he zeroed in on three issues: jobs, the defense of Israel and high gas prices.
"It's time for a real change. It's time to send citizen politicians to Washington, not career ones," Halloran said.
The three Democrats in this race will battle it out in a primary on June 26, with the winner moving on to face Halloran in the general election this November.