By William Lewis
The year 2012 promises to be eventful politically. Nationally, we have Republican Mitt Romney challenging Democratic President Barack Obama. How this race proceeds will have an impact on New York statewide and in local campaigns.
The political parties and the various boards of elections are having a busy year dealing with three primary elections followed by the fall general election in November. The first primary dealt with the Republican primary for the presidential campaign. Romney won our state and maintained his lead in delegate strength.
The next primary election occurs June 26. It includes races for federal legislative offices, including the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. Throughout New York state, a Republican primary is being held to determine who will face incumbent U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) for one of two U.S. Senate seats.
The three Republican candidates are attorney Wendy Long, Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, and Rep. Robert Turner (R-Middle Village). All of these candidates seem to be waging intensive campaigns, but Long has strong support from the state Conservative Party.
Here in Queens we are facing an enthusiastic Democratic primary for Congress in the new 6th District. The main candidates are state Assembly members Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) and Grace Meng (D-Flushing), and City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village).
Meng has the endorsement of the Queens Democratic organization, which gives her an advantage, although Lancman and Crowley have strong bases of support. Other candidates running include Dr. Robert Mittman and Green Party candidate Evergreen Chou. Mittman shows signs of putting a lot of resources into the race and waging an aggressive campaign. The winner of this primary election will face Republican and Conservative candidate Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone).
In the new 3rd Congressional District, which extends from Long Island and includes areas of northeast Queens, Rep. Steven Israel (D-Hauppauge) faces a challenge from Republican and Conservative candidate Stephen Labate, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. Labate is also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and the National Rifle Association.
In the third set of primaries for the state Senate and the Assembly, in which the primary will be held Sept. 13, there is an important Republican primary unfolding involving the 15th state Senate District in western Queens, which is represented by state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach).
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) has indicated an interest in running for the seat, but the Queens Republican organization has endorsed attorney Juan Reyes, who has worked for the Giuliani administration as counsel in the office of the mayor and also was general counsel at the city Board of Standards and Appeals.
Ulrich up to this point has not been defeated in his races for district leader and the Council and will be facing a formidable opponent who will be running an all-out campaign. The winner of that primary will face Addabbo in the fall. This seat was held by former state Sen. Serf Maltese for 20 years up to 2008.
In the 11th state Senate District, the Queens GOP has chosen Joseph Concannon as its candidate to run against state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside).
Concannon is a retired NYPD captain. He also worked in the mayor’s Office of Emergency Management. He especially in that capacity dealt with responses to large-scale emergencies within the city. Padavan, who narrowly lost his seat to Avella in 2010, is a supporter of Concannon.
In the 12th state Senate District in northwest Queens, represented by incumbent state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), chairman of the Democratic State Senate Campaign Committee, the GOP candidate opposing him is Tony Arcabascio. Among Arcabascio’s credentials are that he has been a business executive and technology professional.
This year will be a tremendous battle in Queens and statewide, in addition to the presidential race.