Tuesday, April 15, 2014


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Race For Northeast Queens Council Seat Among Most Contested

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Dan Halloran is one of just four Republicans on the City Council, but is not seeking re-election following his arrest on federal corruption charges earlier this year, and his open seat in District 19 in northeast Queens is one of the most contested races this campaign season. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

For someone who's never held public office, Democrat Paul Vallone has enviable name recognition, thanks to his father, Peter, the longtime City Council speaker, and his brother, City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.

"People smile and they say, "We know your family,' and that's a beautiful thing," Paul Vallone said.

Vallone is considered the favorite to represent City Council District 19, which covers northeast Queens. He promises to bring home more funding.

"I'm going to walk into City Hall the first day with all of the coalition of leaders that we have, from the mayor to the City Council to the speaker, and say, 'District 19 deserves its fair share,'" he said. "And no one has done that in such a long time."

Republican Dennis Saffran, who once ran a national anti-crime group, says that Vallone has been tepid on on issues like stop-and-frisk and is riding the family coattails.

"He doesn’t really have any record of his own," Saffran said. "Paul has not been nearly as forceful on the issues as his brother. He's not a liberal. He's not a conservative. He's not a moderate, either. He takes no positions on issues."

The council district encompasses Bayside and other suburban neighborhoods like it in northeast Queens, neighborhoods that have elected both Democrats and Republicans. Saffran himself ran for the same seat back in 2001 and lost by just a few hundred votes to Democrat Tony Avella.

Avella, now a state senator, has stayed neutral in the race. Meanwhile, Paul Graziano, a Democrat who lost in the primary to Vallone, endorsed Saffran, who's also campaigned alongside Joseph Lhota.

However, using a Rudolph Giuliani quote and photo in campaign fliers may have backfired, as it prompted a campaign robocall.

"It's come to my attention that the Republican candidate has been using my name and image as part of his campaign. I'm calling to set the record straight. This is deceptive," Giuliani says in the call. "I can say with confidence that having the Vallone family in City Council is good for the city of New York."

Vallone has also been endorsed by much of the Democratic establishment, from Rep. Grace Meng on up to Governor Andrew Cuomo. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 (http://commoncrawl.org/faq/) Profile: TWCSAMLSP