By Howard Koplowitz
Two would-be candidates in the race to replace former state Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio have joined forces in an attempt to oust Seminerio’s successor, Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven), in the September Democratic primary.
Community Education Council 24 President and Community Board 9 member Nick Comaianni and Farouk Samaroo, an Afghan war veteran and former aide to disgraced ex-Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin, created the Southwest Queens Democratic Club about three months ago as an organization that would be inclusive to the immigrant community.
Miller was the choice of the Queens Democratic Party in the September special election to replace Seminerio, who resigned from his seat after nearly 30 years in office after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges.
The only way candidates for the office would have been guaranteed a spot on the ballot was to be chosen by Queens political party leaders. Otherwise, they would have had the daunting task of amassing 1,500 petition signatures in six days following Paterson’s calling the special election.
It was that stipulation that led Comaianni and Samaroo not to pursue their candidacies.
Comaianni said he and Samaroo came to the decision that Comaianni would run for the seat this time around with Samaroo’s blessing. Both are Democrats.
“We talked about it. He supported me for it,” Comaianni said in a phone interview Monday. “No sense in killing each other for it.”
While both Comaianni and Samaroo spoke out against the process that led to Miller being chosen as the Queens Democratic Party’s choice, Comaianni said he is not running this time around out of spite.
“It’s not about last year. I’ve moved on — past that. I’m running because I want to represent the people of this district,” Comaianni said. The district covers Ridgewood, Glendale, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven.
Comaianni said he would run on a platform of cutting taxes and being an advocate for small businesses, senior citizens and veterans’ affairs.
“I see how much neglect we have in Albany,” he said.
Comaianni said he would do a better job representing the 38th Assembly District than Miller, a Glendale resident and former member of Community Board 5.
“I would make more of a difference than Miller would. Miller doesn’t really have community experience,” he said.
Miller’s office e-mailed a list of the assemblyman’s accomplishments, including his leading the successful fight against MTA cuts to the M and Z trains and the Q56 bus and penning legislation prohibiting sex offenders from working with children, stopping railroads from allowing trains to idle and ensuring that school budget cuts cannot be enacted in the middle of the year.
“No matter who runs in the upcoming election I stand by my record and I’m ready to defend it,” Miller said in a statement. “I welcome the opportunity ot continue the dialogue on our community’s needs and how I can continue to serve our neighbors to the best of my ability.”
Samaroo said he chose to support Comaianni because he said Comaianni has a wide extent of support.
“It says a lot about Nick that Nick can work with other communities outside his own and I think it will take him to victory on Sept. 14,” he said.
Samaroo said the Democratic club will also be fielding candidates for other offices in the 38th Assembly District, including district leader positions.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.