Political Action: Iannece and Vallone still contenders in 2010 races

By William Lewis

In the Nov. 3 City Council race in the 19th District, in which Republican Dan Halloran defeated Democrat Kevin Kim, there has been a focus on how much support Kim received from other Democrats who ran in the Democratic primary Kim won.

I recently spoke to Jerry Iannece and Paul Vallone, who respectively came in second and third in the primary. I asked them about their support of Kim and impressions of the Halloran-Kim race.

Iannece indicated that on primary election night, he had congratulated Kim on winning. He also endorsed Kim and offered to assist Kim’s campaign. Iannece pointed out that during the general election, Kim never asked for his help, but Iannece also mentioned he was troubled by the tone of the election.

He said, “There was too much mudslinging and personal attacks and not enough dialogue about the issues that were important to the people of our community.”

Paul Vallone said he endorsed Kim and prepared pictures for Kim’s mailings that indicated the endorsement. Vallone mentioned he worked on his brother’s campaign for the City Council in the 22nd Council District during the fall campaign. His brother, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) won re-election after Paul Vallone had served as campaign co-manager.

Speaking about his own primary race in which he came in third behind Iannece and Kim, Paul Vallone said, “I look back on my Council race as a positive and amazing experience. We gained 2,000 new friends and I look forward to a bright future in our community.”

Regarding Paul Vallone’s political future, we will be finding out during the next few months whether he will run for political office in 2010. He cannot run for the state Assembly seat in the 26th Assembly District, which is currently represented by Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside), since he lives in the 25th Assembly District.

Paul Vallone does live, however, in the 11th State Senate District represented by Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose). There is a possibility he may decide to run for that seat against Padavan. His campaign headquarters on Francis Lewis Boulevard is still intact and ready to go if needed. He has also indicated he intends to move his law practice to Bayside and use his former campaign headquarters as his law office.

As for Iannece’s political future, he also does not live in the 26th Assembly District, but in the 24th Assembly District, which will become an open seat leading to a special election in the early part of next year when Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D-Little Neck) resigns from that seat to take his elected position on the City Council.

His brother, Councilman David Weprin (D-Hollis) is also considering running for the Senate against Padavan. If David Weprin does not run for the vacated 24th Assembly District seat, it would seem Iannece would be the leading Democratic candidate. A major factor in that selection process, however, is who the county Democratic Party endorses.

At any rate, the special election in the 24th Assembly District, which will probably be held around February, will be the beginning of the 2010 political season in Queens.

The question arises: Can the Democrats hold on to all 18 Assembly seats they now hold or can the Republicans win some Assembly seats next year? Their chances seemed to have improved after capturing three of Queens’ 14 Council seats this year.

One of those three seats was and continues to be held by Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Rockaway Beach) in the 32nd Council District, which includes Howard Beach, Ozone Park, the Rockaways and parts of Woodhaven and Richmond Hill.

Michael Reich, executive secretary of the Queens Democratic Party, earlier this year had expressed optimism that the Democrats would take back the seat that had been won by Ulrich in a special election back in February, but it was not to be.

Ulrich won the general election by almost a 3-2 margin over Democrat Frank Gulluscio. That seat was formerly held by Democrat Joseph Addabbo Jr. for seven years before he won a seat in the state Senate. Now there is talk of Ulrich at some point in the future challenging Addabbo for the Senate.

Meanwhile, there is considerable interest in which Democrat will challenge Padavan next year. In addition to David Weprin and Paul Vallone expressing an interest in running against Padavan, there is also the possible candidacy of Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside).

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