By Michael Shain
Donald Trump’s front-running presidential campaign is set to name two political hopefuls — one from Jamaica, the other from Maspeth — to head his campaign in Queens.
Tony Nunziato, the owner of a florist shop and a longtime Republican activist in Maspeth, and Bernadette Semple, a retired Navy officer and a Democrat who challenged former state Sen. Malcolm Smith two years ago, will be appointed later this week, according to campaign sources. At that time the Trump campaign is expected to release the names of local campaign leaders statewide in preparation for the New York primaries two weeks away.
In years past, Congressional District Campaign Leaders, as they are called, played largely ceremonial roles in the New York state primaries since the elections in the past were too late to help decide the race or were a foregone conclusion for one candidate.
But this year the campaigns on both the Republican and Democratic sides are expected to be hard fought.
Nunziato tried twice without success to unseat Democratic Assemblywoman Marge Markey (D-Maspeth) in the district that covers Maspeth, Middle Village and several other neighborhods in central Queens.
Semple had little good to say two years ago when the Democratic Party leadership in Queens tried to have her thrown off the ballot in the chaotic election following Smith’s indictment on corruption charges.
“The machine has consistently opposed candidates that they can’t control using every corrupt weapon in their arsenal,” she told one newspaper at the time.
Smith was later convicted and Leroy Comrie eventually won the seat.