By Phil Corso
Embattled City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) will not run for re-election so that he could spend time fighting federal corruption and bribery charges, his spokesman said.
“Regrettably, I must now focus my attention on clearing my name and restoring my reputation while I continue to discharge my sworn duties as a member of the New York City Council,” Halloran, elected in 2009, said in a statement.
“After much thought, I have concluded that it is impossible for me to properly do these things and take on the enormous demands of a political campaign, so I will not pursue another term in the Council.”
Halloran was accused by federal prosecutors in Manhattan of negotiating bribes with Republican leaders to help inject state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) into the upcoming mayoral race on the GOP line. He has since been stripped of all Council committee assignments as he awaits trial in July.
The councilman has publicly professed his innocence since pleading not guilty along with Smith and four other lawmakers following an April 18 indictment detailing the alleged scheme.
“Our nation enshrines the presumption of innocence for a reason, and I look forward to having my day in court, where I am confident that I will ultimately be vindicated,” Halloran said. “Now is the time I must work to that end.”
The councilman was scheduled to defend his northeast Queens 19th District seat in November against a growing field of challengers from both sides of the aisle.
Democrats running for the seat include Paul Graziano, an activist and urban planning consultant; Austin Shafran, a former member of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration; Paul Vallone, an attorney, who ran for the seat in 2009; former state Assemblyman John Duane; and former Halloran staffer Chrissy Voskerichian.
Since the councilman’s arrest, Republicans have also stepped up for the seat, including GOP-backed Dennis Saffran and Rudy S. Giuliani, a cousin of the former mayor with the same name. There have also been rumors that former Democratic Council candidate Kevin Kim was considering joining the race.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.