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Political Action: Halloran defeats Kim in race for Avella’s City Council seat

By William Lewis

Shortly before 11 p.m. on the evening of Election Day at Republican City Council candidate Dan Halloran’s campaign headquarters, it was announced Halloran’s Democratic opponent, Kevin Kim, had called him and conceded the race. The assembled gathering of supporters cheered as the winner gave his victory statement.

So ended one of the most intensely competitive races in the recent political history of northeast Queens. The two candidates battled continuously up to the last moment before the polls closed. In his victory statement, Halloran indicated quality of life took a step forward. He said, “Our neighborhood must be preserved.”

Throughout the campaign he continually emphasized two issues: maintaining the character of our community and stopping overdevelopment. He stressed these issues in campaign literature sent out to the enrolled voters of the 19th Council District and distributed at various meetings and candidate forums.

He apparently convinced a majority of residents in his district that he was the best candidate to implement these policies.

Kim, in his campaign literature, stressed his professional background as an attorney and a member of U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman’s (D-Bayside) staff. He emphasized his endorsements from Democratic office holders.

He did not stress, however, issues important to the people of the district as did Halloran, with constant references to overdevelopment and pointing out that developers had contributed significant financial resources to Kim’s campaign.

On Election Day, Kim had a large contingent of campaign workers in the field. He also had a system whereby supporters were brought to the polls. He had used similar methods during the Democratic primary election and was successful at that time.

The just-concluded general election, however, was different. Unlike the primaries this year, there was a large voter turnout, much more so than in previous Council races. The weather was excellent and Halloran was helped by the large turnout. Senior citizens came out in large numbers and indications are that most of them voted for Halloran.

So the 19th Council seat now returns to a Republican after being in the hands of the Democrats, with Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) having held the seat during the last eight years. Halloran has indicated he wants to build a coalition of Republicans and Democrats on the Council to work toward the objectives he outlined during the campaign.

He points out that after Jan. 1, 2010, there will be five Republicans on the Council instead of three, as we have had this year. With his victory, in addition to Republicans Peter Koo in the 20th District in Flushing and Eric Ulrich in the 32nd District in Rockaway Beach, this gives Queens a majority of the five Republican seats. This makes likely the election of the Council minority leader from Queens.

As we look at the impact of the elections locally and statewide, voters want change, but change that will lead to beneficial results by their standards.

In all, 2010 is looked upon as a continuation of what has happened this year. In 1994, when the Clinton administration had been in office for two years, it lost over 50 seats in the House of Representatives. Next year at this time, when the Obama administration is in office for two years, a similar situation could unfold.

Halloran has won an impressive victory by apparently a 53 percent to 47 percent margin. He now has four years in office to work on his commitments to the voters of the 19th District. It will be interesting to see how that develops.

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