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DECISION 2010:   Home  |  Top News  |  On The Air  |  On The Issues  |  Struggle For Power  |  Crooked Lines

In this special five-part series, NY1 political reporter Erin Billups examines the fight to control the New York State Senate.

Struggle For Power: Tea Party Message Puts Queens Senate District In Play

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A Queens senate district that used to be a Republican stronghold but is currently held by a freshman Democrat has found itself on the shortlist of races that could tip the scale of power come January. NY1's Erin Billups filed the following report.

For former Queens City Councilman Anthony Como, the similarity in last name and first initial to one of this year's gubernatorial candidates could bode well for him in his bid for State Senate.

The Republican is hoping to unseat incumbent Democrat Joe Addabbo.

The son of a former Congressman, Addabbo says he's campaigning hard so people will know the difference.

"We heard stories of when they were going around for petitioning that they would say 'sign this for Como' and it almost seemed like Andrew Cuomo," Addabbo said.

"Is there a confusion? There may be. I can't speak for every individual voter. Some people have joked around about it to me," Como said.

But Como says he's not joking when it comes to his message. Citing record high tax and fee increases and cuts to education, Como says Addabbo has failed.

"I'm blaming it on the person who's representing the district. He voted for that budget, the incumbent from this area Senator Addabbo. He didn't have to. That one vote may be the deciding vote," Como said.

Another vote dogging Addabbo is his vote against gay marriage. Once his supporters in 2008, the gay community is now out to punish him. Still, Addabbo is confident the rest of his record will carry him to victory.

"They've seen me work very hard over the past two years. For the first time providing the senate district with a 24-hour live hotline to my office so they can reach me 24 hours a day seven days a week," Addabbo said.

Voters in the conservative leaning district are likely to find the Tea Party message more appealing than other areas in New York City, which could be a problem for the Democratic incumbent.

"I believe because they tend to vote conservative they are fed up and understand that there has to be a change," Como said.

Republicans believe with Como they have a good chance of recapturing the district and the majority. Addabbo, though, argues voters understand that he and senate Democrats -- new to power in 2008 -- were forced to make difficult decisions during the recession.

"These problems are serious problems and we don't think there's a Democratic way or a Republican way to do things. There's a right way," Addabbo said.

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