By Gina Martinez
City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) has won his third term as councilman.
The “Mayor of Flushing” won a convincing victory against challenger Alison Tan, wife of state Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing), to represent District 20 in the City Council, The seat covers Flushing, Murray Hill and Queensboro Hill.
The unofficial returns reported by NY1 had Koo with 58.1 percent of the vote, while Tan had 41.9 percent with all of the ballots counted.
Koo was in high spirits at his victory party Tuesday night, taking selfies with staffers and supporters. Koo thanked the voters and said he will continue to serve the community he calls home.
“When I moved to the United States, it was to make the most of every opportunity and hard work that I was able to succeed,” he said in his victory speech. “The Flushing community has given me so much, a home to raise my family, to start a business and to serve. I want to continue to earn the title of “Mayor of Flushing” every day by working hard and doing what is best for our community.”
The race against Koo’s unlikely competitor turned ugly at times, with the candidates hurling insults at one another. Things came to a head at a candidates’ forum in August held at the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel in Flushing. At one point during the forum, when asked to say something nice about the other opponent, both candidates decided to use it as an opportunity to attack one another. Tan began by “complimenting” Koo’s shrewd ability to pretend to be a Democrat when, she said, he really is a Republican (Koo originally ran as a Republican for his first term before switching parties). Koo retaliated by saying he respected Tan’s ability to navigate the financial industry in order to make money to help billionaires, calling her an “expert in gaming the system.”
Many were surprised when Tan decided to run against Koo, especially given Kim’s friendship with Koo. Kim had even endorsed the councilman for re-election prior to his wife’s announcement that she would challenge Koo.
Tan is the managing director of Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group and a CB 7 board member.
“Me and Ron Kim, we were friends for a long time,” Koo said in an interview with the TimesLedger. “Then he turned around and asked his wife to run against me. I don’t know what is wrong with him. Two months before his wife decided to run, he supported my re-election, He called me the ‘Mayor of Flushing.’”
Koo maintained throughout the campaign, however, that he was not worried about Tan and that he would run on his record and his achievements of the last eight years.
In his speech he went on to say that he will continue to improve quality of life in Flushing.
“During my first two terms, we were able to create a lot of positive changes in our communities, but there is still work to be done,” he said. “Downtown Flushing is over-crowded. We must do more to address the sanitary issues in our streets and the environmental concerns in our waterways. Even though the summer of hell is over, our transportation system still needs to be improved. From our youngest citizens to our oldest, we can still do more to improve quality of life for all, when it comes to education, public safety and senior services.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart