Dishing with Dee: Carrozza’s bowing out creates a crowded field of contenders

Dee Richard
By Dee Richard

Knowing this was going to be a slow week and that the events calendar would be rather sparse, it looked like a good time to catch up on our Queens political landscape.

By now I’m sure you have all heard that Democratic state Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza has opted out of running for re-election in the 26th Assembly District. Wow! That bit of information changes the handicapper’s odds on just who the winner will be. Originally, a large percentage of the electorate thought Carrozza might run, win and then step down, but with this turn of events a number of interesting possibilities become apparent.

Running for Carrozza’s seat on the Republican line so far is Vinny Tabone and Rob Speranza, both of whom have officially announced their candidacies. But this is early in the game and there may be other Republican candidates popping up in the future.

So far, according to speculators on the Democratic side of the aisle, you have Elio Forcina, Steve Behar, Ed Braunstein, Michael Sais, Mathew Silverstein and John Duane. On the ladies’ side, the potentials are Carol Gresser, Debbie Markell and Nora Marino. Although the ladies have not officially committed as of yet, these are possibilities.

If it’s politics as usual, I’m sure there will be people who will decide to jump into the race and some inevitably will decide to drop out. That’s why Primary Day is such an important day. It determines who the one winner in each party will be. That’s why I have never understood why more people don’t vote in primaries.

The name of the game in politics is to win. That being the case, try this one on for size. What if former City Councilman Tony Avella switched from running against state Sen. Frank Padavan for his 11th Senate District seat and decided instead to run for Carrozza’s seat? Think about it.

If Padavan is a tough one to beat and if Avella runs against him and loses, then Avella becomes just another also-ran, so to speak. But with Carrozza’s Assembly seat up for grabs and without having to buck a popular incumbent, that makes it a doable race — one the Democratic Party should covet. It’s like an open seat, which is always more desirable and winnable.

It would seem the best shot the Democrats have of getting a foothold in the 26th Assembly District would be for Avella to run and win the seat.

At least that seems the most logical choice for him as I see it.

If he takes Padavan on and looses at that point, what are his options? Does he really have any others? If so, what are they?

It has been my experience that most people vote their own self-interest. Avella says Padavan has been there too long and that we need a change. If Padavan has been re-elected for 38 years, it would seem to indicate to me he must be doing something right.

When Avella advocates for change, does he realize or care he becomes the new kid on the block? It will take him at least 10 years to get to the same position as Padavan when it comes to bringing home the wherewithal to finance all the nonprofits, community programs and organizations he has helped finance.

If Avella wins, what happens to all those groups? Do they go out of existence while waiting for Avella to accrue the seniority necessary to be able to help these groups to the extent Padavan does? Remember, the economy is bad and private donations are few and far between. As we said in the beginning, self-interests are a powerful factor in the voting process.

In any event, it looks like a nonstop, never-a-dull-moment campaign season on the horizon.

A few comments on Carrozza’s decision to leave the Assembly. I for one will miss covering her, as she has always been one of the available fun electeds to deal with. I cannot recall ever having to complain about her as far as I was personally concerned. She was a co-operative lady and “lady” is the operative word.

Life is a series of changes and apparently it is time for some changes in hers. Lots of luck to you in whatever your next cycle will be. You have a successful elder law practice if that’s what’s in store for you. You are blessed with a fine husband and two wonderful little boys. That’s all that matters. Your cup runneth over. Again, lots of luck to you and keep in touch.

That’s it for this week,

I look forward to hearing from you with information on people, parties and politics or gossip.

I like receiving your voice mails at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at deerrichard@aol.com.

Till next week, Dee.

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