By Jeremy Walsh
A hotly contested battle between Democrats to challenge state Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale) in November ended Friday when Albert Baldeo threw his support behind City Councilman Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), the Queens Democratic Party’s favored candidate.
“As a party we can see beyond personal gains,” Baldeo said at a news conference in front of his Liberty Avenue office in Richmond Hill. “We have to stand united to move forward.”
Addabbo shook the hand of his former opponent and thanked Baldeo for making some “personal, tough choices.” He said he would run a positive campaign focusing on the issues. “Today we put people in front of personal ambition.”
There was no indication whether Baldeo had been promised any position or appointment in exchange for pulling out of the race.
Though it is too late for Baldeo to withdraw his name from the primary ballot, he urged his supporters to back Addabbo.
Baldeo, who lost to Maltese in the 2006 election by only 900 votes, warned against letting party rivalries obscure larger goals.
“If we divide our resources, we lose out,” he said. “The Republicans have been spending a lot of money in this district.”
Baldeo had raised $166,337 as of the beginning of August, according to state Board of Elections records. Addabbo has raised $212,090. Since the 2006 general election, Maltese has raised $615,645, the Board of Elections records show.
U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley, chairman of the Queens Democrats, thanked Baldeo for backing down and averting a divisive primary in an election where the state party hopes to capture a Senate majority for the first time in more than four decades.
“All roads to the majority in the state Senate lead through Queens,” he said.