New Blood for Queens

The drawing of new district lines for the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate brought a new wave of competition to Queens last week, even though turnout on Primary Day was low in many of the borough’s polling stations.

In the newly created 6th Congressional District, state Assemblywoman Grace Meng won in a four-way primary. If she prevails in the general election, she will become the first Asian American in the city’s congressional delegation.

Her victory is seen as an indication of the growing political strength of the city’s Asian-American community.

In addition to Flushing, the district stretches from Fresh Meadows and Bayside to Maspeth, Middle Village and Glendale.

Meng will run against City Councilman Dan Halloran, a Republican who has the support of the Conservative and Libertarian parties in a district where Democrats are predominant.

In another race for a redrawn district, Councilman Charles Barron was defeated by Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries in his bid to represent the voters of Howard Beach, Lindenwood and part of Ozone Park. Barron has staked many of his positions on race, which voters clearly rejected.

In the Ridgewood area, Rep. Nydia Velazquez defeated Councilman Erik Dilan and former Democratic District Leader George Martinez in the 7th Congressional District, despite running without support from the Brooklyn party boss.

On Nov. 7, the Democrats in Congress will face an immediate challenge that was laid out by the Republican Party when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Obamacare. Within hours of the decision, the GOP vowed to take control of Congress in order to repeal the health care reform law.

In a contest that may have national impact, Rep. Bob Turner was beaten by Manhattan lawyer Wendy Long in a three-way Republican primary for the Senate. She will face Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Like Turner, Long is a favorite of conservatives, who are gaining political power in Nassau County and other parts of the state. Theirs is a voting block that has little sympathy for the concerns of New York City.

But no matter where one stands on the political spectrum, it was a good week for democracy in Queens.

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