By Sarina Trangle
A slate of incumbent state officials swept the Democratic primaries in Queens despite anemic voter turnout in most contests.
Indicted state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) was the only sitting state legislator ousted in Tuesday’s elections. The decision came at the hands of some 13,421 voters — or nearly 11 percent of registered Democrats in the district, according to the Associated Press.
Former St. Albans City Councilman Leroy Comrie beat out Smith and attorney Munir Avery. Comrie won 69 percent of the vote, compared to Smith’s 19 percent and Avery’s 12 percent, according to AP.
More turned out for the tight match-up between Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and his Queens Democratic Party-backed challenger, ex-city Comptroller John Liu, with at least 13,058 — or about 13 percent of registered Democrats — casting ballots, according to AP results compiled with more than 95 percent of precincts reporting.
AP declared Avella the winner with a 568-vote lead and more than 95 percent of precincts reporting. But Liu has refused to concede and believes roughly 1,000 untallied absentee ballots may turn the race in his favor.
By and large, Queens’ delegation in Albany is expected to include familiar faces.
Sen. James Sanders (D-South Ozone Park) triumphed with 75 percent of the vote. His challengers — Rosedale developer Everly Brown and Bayswater real estate executive Gian Jones — received 22 percent and 4 percent of the votes respectively, according to AP.
Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) beat out immigration reform activist S.J. Jung, capturing 57 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting.
State Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Maspeth) fended off a challenge from Community Board 5 member Dmytro Fedkowskyj, garnering roughly 75 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting, according to AP.
The state legislators will likely be navigating the capitol under Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his lieutenant governor pick Kathy Hochul after the pair came out on top of the Democratic primary.
About 10 percent of registered Democrats cast ballots in Stavisky’s district, 7 percent in Markey’s district and 6 percent in Sanders’ district.
No district managed to attract as many voters as the 15,616 or 15,789 who turned out for Queens state legislative primaries in 2010, the last Democratic primary cycle that fell on a non-presidential election year.
At IS 73 in Maspeth, poll site coordinator Walter Smith said he had counted 17 voters by noon.
“It’s very slow,” he said. “It’s been almost exclusively elderly voters, maybe one or two middle-aged people.”
IS 87 in Middle Village did not hit the 17-voter mark until 2 p.m., according to its coordinator Jerome Rosenthal.
Workers at PS 49 in Middle Village felt good about assisting more than 100 voters by mid-afternoon, although at least two of those who showed up were registered Republicans who apparently were unaware there were no GOP primaries this year.
Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.