By Karen Frantz
State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) got the backing of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) in his bid for re-election last Thursday, winning an important endorsement as the hotly contested race for the 15th Senate District enters its final weeks.
“I am proud to support Joe Addabbo,” Schumer said at the news conference outside Queens Community House, at 108-25 62nd Drive in Forest Hills. “He springs from the earth of this district.”
Schumer portrayed Addabbo as a legislator who fights for working people and families and is unswayed by outside interests. He also applauded Addabbo’s record in the Senate on issues such as education and crime, saying Addabbo has fought for tougher gun restriction laws and secured millions in funding for education.
Many other Democratic senators and City Council members also attended the press conference to show their support for Addabbo, underscoring the importance to the party of holding onto the seat in the Senate, where Republicans hold the majority by the slim margin of 33-29.
Among the politicians were Sens. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) and Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) and state Assemblymen Michael Simanowitz (D-Electchester) and Phillip Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park).
Gianaris took on Addabbo’s opponent, Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), who is neck-and-neck with the senator in the polls, listing a number of issues he said should make voters wary of Ulrich.
They included gun control, which Ulrich is against strengthening; hydraulic fracturing, which Ulrich supports with caveats; and the minimum wage, which Ulrich has said he is in favor of raising but which Gianaris said would have a tougher time coming up for a vote in the Senate with an additional Republican seat.
“In all these issues he stands against this community where Joe Addabbo stands with it,” Gianaris said.
Schumer responded to a question about an Oct. 8 Siena College poll showing Ulrich only two points behind Addabbo by saying the councilman’s performance was due to his larger campaign coffers.
“We have one candidate who is grassroots and one candidate who has a lot of money and puts on a lot of misleading ads and everything else,” he said.
Addabbo said he is planning on keeping the race positive and wants the spotlight directed on maintaining essential services for people during difficult economic times.
“The focus of my campaign has always been about people,” he said.
Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.