By Phil Corso
In the wake of Nily Rozic’s Democratic primary for the state Assembly, her opponent’s hometown civic in Bayside Hills has looked inward to ask why it was not celebrating Jerry Iannece’s victory.
In the Sept. 13 primary election Fresh Meadows’ Rozic bested Iannece with 56 percent of the vote, according to the unofficial results, determining who would go on to face Conservative William Garifal Jr. and Republican Abe Fuchs in November’s election. The winner will take the 25th Assembly District seat currently held by Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows).
Lancman, who chose not to publicly endorse any candidate in the race, said he would not seek re-election in the Assembly after losing a Democratic primary for Congress in June to Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing).
The newly drawn 25th Assembly District lines run from Flushing to Douglaston and include most of Bayside Hills.
Rozic pulled in a total of 2,245 votes while Iannece brought in 1,749, according to unofficial results from the city Board of Elections.
Iannece, 53, who was backed by the Queens Democratic Party, also received a key endorsement from the Bayside Hills Civic Association, a group he once led as president. It was the first time in the group’s history that it had endorsed a candidate for political office.
In a letter addressed to the residents of Bayside Hills, BHCA Vice President Armando Cortino asked his neighbors, “Where were you?”
“Because of non-participation at the polls, you lost Jerry as your voice,” Cortino said. “Due to dwindling membership and non-participation, very soon you may lose your civic association, too. I repeat, the strength of any organization, or association, is its members and their ability to stick together.”
On Primary Night, Iannece walked into his party of supporters at C.J. Sullivan’s in Bayside with a somber look on his face. After embarking on a political campaign he said he was reluctant to take on again, the Community Board 11 chairman bowed out of the political sphere as he addressed the crowd.
“Politics is just not in the cards for me,” Iannece told a room full of supporters. “I guess my time has come and gone.”
Iannece had already run for the City Council in 2009, when he was defeated in the Democratic primary and ultimately lost his bid for the seat currently held by Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone). Before throwing his hat into the 25th Assembly District race, he said it was the overwhelming support he received that brought him to run for public office again.
Aside from the Queens Democratic Party, Iannece received endorsements from Meng, U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) and Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan).
Meanwhile, in Jamaica Estates, Rozic’s party anxiously awaited their winning candidate for her victory address. Rozic, 27, entered the Sly Fox Inn to booming cheers, hugs and wide-eyed smiles.
“Tonight, we were able to celebrate for so many reasons,” Rozic said at her victory party in the company of supporters, friends and family. “I hope I make you prouder with every passing day.”
As she looks ahead to the November general election, the former chief of staff for Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan) said she planned on stressing the most important issues to voters throughout the district, including campaign finance reform, job creation and improving access to vital services, especially for women and seniors.
According to campaign finance documents, Rozic trailed Iannece’s fund-raising numbers by less than $1,000, with $97,323 raised compared to her opponent’s $98,103.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.