By Stephen Stirling
After eking out a victory in the Queens Democratic primary for City Councilman John Liu’s (D-Flushing) seat last week, Yen Chou is looking forward.
Although many candidates in her place have little to worry about in heavily Democratic New York City, Chou could face another challenging race.
Chou won the tight race for the Democratic nomination Sept. 15 with 25 percent of the vote, edging out Isaac Sasson and S.J. Jung, who each pulled in just over 22 percent of the votes cast. The race was contentious at times as allegations of racism were frequently lobbed between the field of five candidates, which included two Chinese Americans, two Korean Americans and one Caucasian candidate.
Choe now faces popular Flushing businessman Peter Koo and Green Party candidate Evergreen Chou in the general election this November.
“I’m ready,” Chou said. “After that primary I can do anything.”
But Chou may also be up against a familiar face in Jung, who was weighing a run on the Working Families Party line after a strong showing in the Democratic primary.
“I have not really made any decisions,” Jung said. “I know I can still run on the Working Families line and I’ve been receiving a lot of phone calls telling me I should run. I’m even getting phone calls from supporters of other campaigns. I think it will be a few days before I decide, though.”
If he runs, Jung would be the sole Korean-American candidate in a field with three Chinese Americans and would bring the support of the labor-backed Working Families Party with him.
Terence Park, leader of Flushing political organization Our Political Coalition and a former Council candidate himself, said he believes it would be unwise for Jung to continue his campaign.
“If I were him, I wouldn’t run,” Park said. “Political science is based on statistics and analysis, and the analysis says that in general elections in New York City Democrats just vote straight down the line. He would need to dramatically shift a very large group of Democrats over to his side, which would be difficult.”
Meanwhile, after a surprisingly bruising defeat in the Democratic primary, former Liu chief of staff John Choe said he would return to his former post in the near future. Choe had resigned in the spring to pursue a campaign and would stay on Liu’s staff if he is elected city comptroller.
Choe, considered an early favorite to win the race after getting major endorsements from the Queens Democratic organization and Liu, received just over 16 percent of the vote, landing in fourth place with only Democratic District Leader James Wu trailing him.
“I’m very proud of the campaign I ran and I think we were able to raise a lot of good issues,” Choe said. “I’ve always been involved in the community and I will continue to serve it moving forward.”
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.