Tony Avella drops out of Queens borough president race

Avella 1
File photo

The once-crowded Democratic race for Queens borough president is now down to two.

State Senator Tony Avella dropped his bid for the seat Wednesday, citing “unfinished business in Albany” as one of his reasons, his campaign said.

“It has become clear that there is still a lot of work left to be done,” Avella said. “At this time, I believe I can best serve the people of Queens by remaining a State Senator.”

Avella, who had low fundraising totals, was facing off with former legislator Melinda Katz and Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. in the Democratic primary. Everly Brown is also on the ballot but has kept a low profile since announcing.

“From protecting against the threat of hydrofracking to preserving women’s rights, there is a lot of unfinished business in Albany,” Avella said, “and I hope to take more of a leadership role in helping address these important issues, which reverberate beyond Queens and affect people across the entire state.”

The race to replace term-limited Borough President Helen Marshall once had many contenders. Councilmember Leroy Comrie withdrew his bid last month.

Avella’s name will still be on the ballot during the September 10 primary election.

“This was certainly not an easy decision and I am eternally grateful for the overwhelming amount of support I received from people throughout Queens,” he said. “Queens is my home borough and I will never stop fighting and advocating for all residents of Queens.”

Vallone, who often clashed with Avella in debates, said the two “disagreed on some things but agreed on many others.”

“I look forward to working with him and his constituents to make a better Queens,” Vallone said.

Katz praised Avella for being “a forceful voice for more open, honest and transparent government in Albany.”

“His presence in this race brought the focus to real issues facing voters around our borough,” she said, “including education, affordable housing and better healthcare for all Queens residents.”

The winner will run against Republican candidate Tony Arcabascio in November.