There are just a handful of local city races this election season, as the state legislature isn't up for re-election until next year and the City Council isn't up until 2017, but an open City Council seat in Queens does have a contested Democratic primary next month. Zack Fink filed the following report.
Registered Democratic voters in eastern Queens will be heading to the polls next month for the open seat in the 23rd City Council District. The special election was called after Mark Weprin resigned from his seat to take a job with Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Barry Grodenchik has the support of the County Democratic machine and Assemblyman David Weprin.
"I've served in the Assembly," Grodenchik said. "I served as a top aide to three borough presidents now, including deputy to Helen Marshall. I ran Claire Shulman's office, and I'm currently on leave for Borough President Melinda Katz's office."
Grodenchik is being challenged by Rebecca Lynch, who is on leave from her community affairs job in the de Blasio administration. Her insurgent candidacy is being backed by Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and has drawn strong support from unions.
"I'm honored to have a lot of labor support," Lynch said. "There are quite a few labor families in this community, retired teachers, CSA members, teamsters, plumbers, so it's really validating to have the unions that represent, that protect them supporting my candidacy."
Bob Friedrich is a tenant organizer who is active in the district, which is known for its leafy streets and an almost suburban feel.
"I'm actually the only candidate who has never been on the payroll of a career politician," Freidrich said. "To me, it's all about civic involvement, all about quality-of-life issues, fighting from the ground, getting people together, building coalitions."
Celia Dosamantes is also running and touts her mixed ethnic roots, both Indian and Mexican, as an asset.
"This is one of the most diverse districts in the whole city of New York, and we need somebody that understands that diversity and is able to be a strong advocate at City Hall. And I'm the only candidate that reflects, truly, the diversity of the area," Dosamantes said.
Ali Najmi is an attorney and local organizer.
"I'm born and raised in the district, and I'm the only candidate in this race that has a plan and the experience to get things done," Najmi said.
Satnam Singh Parhar is the sixth Democratic candidate in the race.
Like many races in New York City, insiders believe whoever wins the Democratic primary is likely to win the general election in November. Primary day is September 10.