By Nathan Duke
In a surprise move, state Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside) said last week she would not seek re-election this fall and three northeast Queens Democrats have already been named as potential opponents for her seat.
The assemblywoman, who was first elected in 1996, said Friday she would not run in November for another term.
“It has been a profound honor to have represented the people of the 26th Assembly District for the past 14 years,” Carrozza said. “I have focused on the rights of seniors and holding insurance companies accountable. I plan to continue this advocacy as a full-time elder law attorney in the Bayside community.”
Carrozza said she had decided upon being elected in 1996 that she did not want to serve more than 12 years in the Assembly. She had come under fire from political opponents last summer after it was discovered she was living out of her district in a Long Island home for three monthsï»¿.
Three Democrats have already been floated as contenders for Carrozza’s seat, including Michael Sais, chief of staff for state Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria); New York State Young Democrats President Matthew Silverstein; Community Board 11 member Edward Bronstein and attorney Steve Behar, who previously ran in the Democratic primary during the City Council race to replace Tony Avella.
All three of the Democrats are from Bayside.
“It’s something I’m going to seriously consider in the coming weeks,” Sais said of the race for Carrozza’s seat.
Behar said he was “strongly considering” a bid for the seat and Bronstein is in the process of setting up a Web site or Facebook page.
Carrozza said she would eventually endorse one of the candidates.
“The phone has been ringing off the hook and many of the calls are from prospective candidates,” she said.
She said she would also not rule out any future runs for elected office in her district.
The only Republican currently in the race is Bayside’s Vince Tabone, who works as an attorney for John Catsimatidis’ Manhattan-based Red Apple Group. He has already been endorsed by the Queens County Republican Party.
Carrozza had faced criticism from some residents in her district, especially Republicans, after a story broke in July that she had been living out of the district at a property she and her husband own in Glen Head, L.I. At the time, she had said the law did not prevent her from living at the property.
The assemblywoman stayed at the home between March and June before moving back to the district in July.
Carrozza had said she and her husband were living in the “investment property” as they planned to adopt a child and search for a new home in Bayside. She currently owns two homes andï»¿ two sites for office space in Bayside.
Assembly records show that Carrozza had excused absences for 44 days, or 64 percent of the time, during 2009’s legislative days.
“Ann Carrozza entered public service with good intentions and has served our community in Albany for many years,” Tabone said. “Her withdrawal is nevertheless an acknowledgment that the residents of northeast Queens want fundamental change in the Assembly, who deserve better than Carrozza’s legacy of higher taxes and chronic absenteeism.”
Tabone took shots at his potential Democratic opponents for the seat.
The district covers Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston and Whitestone and includes District 25 and 26 schools, which are ranked second-best in the city.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.