Vallone, Gioia, Crowley apparent council victors

By Dustin Brown

Peter Vallone Jr., the son of the incumbent, swept to victory Tuesday night in the Democratic primary for City Council Speaker Peter Vallone’s (D-Astoria) seat, according to preliminary results reported by New York 1 Wednesday morning.

Eric Gioia, a lawyer from Woodside, emerged as the winner in the Democrats’ crowded race to succeed City Councilman Walter McCaffrey (D-Woodside), while Elizabeth Crowley appears to have secured the Democratic nod to succeed City Councilman Tom Ognibene (R-Middle Village), according to NY 1.

Vallone, McCaffrey and Ognibene were all barred from running for reelection by term limits.

The primary was postponed after the polls had opened Sept. 11 in response to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Vallone’s 22nd Council District covers Astoria, Long Island City, and parts of Jackson Heights, while McCaffrey’s 26th Council District covers most of Long Island City, Woodside, Sunnyside and parts of Maspeth.

The 30th Council District, currently represented by Ognibene, covers the communities of Middle Village, Glendale and Ridgewood, in addition to parts of Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and Forest Hills.

The favorite in the race to succeed the City Council speaker was the incumbent’s son, Vallone Jr., an attorney who has served in the Manhattan district attorney’s office and provides legal counsel to many local community organizations through the family law firm. He faced attorney John Ciafone, a longtime member of School Board 30, and Astoria business owner Mike Zapiti.

Vallone Jr. will go on to face a long roster of candidates for the November general election, including Republican Sandra Vassos, Green Party candidate Jerry Kann and Independence Party candidate Michael Mascitti. Ciafone will remain on the November ballot as the Liberal Party candidate, and Vallone Jr. will hold the Conservative Party line in addition to that of the Democrats.

In McCaffrey’s district, Gioia came out on top in a competitive race against four candidates with diverse professional experience: longtime Community Board 2 Chairman Joseph Conley; Matthew Farrell, the chief of staff to City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills); local business owner Michael Kearney; and Patrick O’Malley, a former public school teacher and prosecutor with the Queens district attorney’s office.

With no Republican candidates in McCaffrey’s district, the winner of the Democratic primary will face Green Party candidate Ann Eagan in November.

In the 30th Council District race, Crowley, a substitute teacher and restorative painter with a long family history in politics, campaigned against city budget analyst Robert Cermeli and grassroots activist Linda Sansivieri, both of whom are members of School Board 24.

The Democratic primary winner will face Republican candidate Dennis Gallagher, Ognibene’s chief of staff, and Green Party candidate Sharain Pereira.

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.