By Phil Corso
The Democratic field of challengers hoping to unseat City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) dropped by one this week after Bay Terrace’s Matthew Silverstein decided to end his candidacy.
The Democratic state committeeman for the 26th Assembly District said he based his decision to drop his bid on the heels of what he called one of the most difficult years of his life, which included the death of his mother in December.
“Improving our schools, putting New Yorkers back to work, advocating for our city’s veterans, fighting for tax equity for co-op and condo owners and preserving our quality of life are the issues that made me want to run for City Council from the very beginning,” Silverstein said in a statement.
The four primary candidates who remain include Bayside’s Austin Shafran, Whitestone attorney Paul Vallone, former state Assemblyman John Duane from Douglaston and Flushing activist and urban planning consultant Paul Graziano.
Silverstein said he had plans on eventually endorsing a Democratic candidate to go up against Halloran in November, but not quite yet. The winner will represent the conservative 19th District, which covers Little Neck, Bayside, Whitestone, Auburndale and College Point.
“I’m still searching for the candidate in this race who most embodies my ideals in how we can work together to put this city back on the right path,” Silverstein said. “Once I determine who that person, I will share it with you.”
As of the last filing period, Silverstein reported just under $10,000 in his campaign coffers before pulling out of the race — the second lowest total of the five Democrats in fund-raising for the spot. He drew much of his support – just under $1,500 — from workers at Manhattan employment company America Works of New York, where he once worked to address unemployment throughout the city, according to the Campaign Finance Board.
Shafran remained the financial frontrunner in the Democratic primary race with $58,802 raised by the March 11 filing deadline, the CFB said. Duane was not far behind, with $44,420 followed by Vallone, who raised $39,305. Graziano remained at the bottom of the fund-raising as of press time, with $8,760 in his coffers, according to the CFB.
Halloran reported $40,790 in contributions, with his largest contribution of $2,500 coming from the camp of supporter and former state Sen. Frank Padavan.
Silverstein has also served as a second vice president for the Bay Terrace Community Alliance and is on the board of directors for groups, including the Center for the Women of New York and the Jefferson Democratic Club of northeast Queens.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.