Former City Comptroller John Liu to challenge Avella for Queens state Senate seat

A Democratic candidate is challenging an eight-year incumbent for a state Senate seat in northeast Queens and has received support from some local lawmakers, including the City Council Speaker.

John Liu, a former New York City comptroller and councilman, will run against Tony Avella for the District 11 seat, which covers areas including Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, Flushing and Whitestone. Liu will seek the Democratic nomination in the Sept. 13 primary election.

In 2014, Avella joined the New York state Senate Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), a breakaway faction of eight Senate Democrats working in a coalition with Senate Republicans, in a move that drew criticism from some within the party. Earlier this year, the group struck a reunification deal and dissolved.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson threw his support behind the challenger over the weekend when he joined volunteers seeking petition signatures in Queens.

“Excited to join the incredible grassroots support for @LiuNewYork and #noIDCNY! #TrueBlueLiu,” a July 8 tweet from Johnson reads.

Queens Councilman Rory Lancman also voiced his support for Liu on Twitter, stating he “couldn’t be happier to sign @LiuNewYork petition to be my (real) #Democratic state senator.”

Liu previously challenged Avella for the seat in 2014 and lost in the primary by less than 1,000 votes. The previous year, Liu’s bid to become mayor failed amid questions over fundraising from a previous campaign.

Simon Minching and Vickie Paladino are the Republican challengers for the seat.