Comrie makes exit from boro prez race

By Rich Bockmann

With a weak fund-raising showing that put him hundreds of thousands of dollars behind the top contenders in the borough president race, City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) announced over the weekend he was dropping out of the contest.

“After careful consideration, my family and I believe, due to personal matters, this is the best course of action,” the term-limited southeast Queens lawmaker said in a statement released Saturday, two days before the deadline to file his disclosure with the city Campaign Finance Board.

“Queens is one of the greatest boroughs in our city, and I am thankful to everyone for the opportunity to showcase my platform for inclusion and empowerment and express my passion for the borough that was afforded me in this race,” he added. “I am looking forward to serving the people of Queens — in one capacity or another — for a long time to come.”

Comrie would not elaborate on his reasons for pulling out of the race, and said he was looking forward to serving out the rest of his final term on the Council.

The head of the borough’s Council delegation and chairman of the Council Land Use Committee said he was “still trying to see what’s next” for him in life after public office.

From the outset of his bid to be borough president, Comrie lagged behind two well-funded competitors — Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) and former Councilwoman Melinda Katz — when it came to fund-raising and failed to pick up a couple of key endorsements.

The latest campaign finance filings for the period from May 12 through July 11 show Comrie pulled in $22,080 for a total take of about $168,000.

With approximately $40,000 in cash on hand, his war chest is behind those of Vallone and Katz, who are running hard through the final push to the Sept. 10 Democratic primary.

Vallone banked $40,015 during the last filing period, putting him on top of the field of candidates with a total haul of more than $1 million.

He has almost $578,000 on hand, setting up a showdown with Katz, who has more than $404,000.

She raised $173,854 through the last period, putting her total at just under $640,000.

Katz has been endorsed by the Rev. Floyd Flake, of the Greater A.M.E. Cathedral and the Queens Democratic Party, two key nods political observers say Comrie missed out on due, in part, to his poor fund-raising.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) raised $13,667 from mid-May through June 11 for a total of more than $70,000.

With a little more than $51,000 on hand, he remains defiantly in the race.

Astoria businessman Tony Arcabascio, who is running on the GOP line, has raised $4,510.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.