Down goes Avella: Liu secures primary victory

Down goes Avella: Liu secures primary victory
John Liu and his wife, Jenny, celebrate his primary victory with City Councilman Barry Grodenchik, state Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal and City Councilman Rory Lancman.
Photo by Naeisha Rose
By Naeisha Rose

“True blue Liu” was what a crowd of supporters of former City Comptroller John Liu chanted as he became the Democratic nominee to represent northeast Queens in the state Senate last week after besting state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) in their second primary bout.

With 100 percent of the districts reporting, Liu captured 50.73 percent of the votes, while Avella trailed with 45.3 percent, according to unofficial results from the city Board of Elections. There were 23,939 votes cast, 12,133 of which were in favor of Liu and 10,846 for Avella.

Liu and Avella — a former member of the renegade Independent Democratic Conference member from 2014 to 2018 — previously went head-to-head in the 2014 primary, which Avella won by a narrow margin of 894 votes.

“I’m honored and humbled that fellow Democrats in Senate District 11 have entrusted me with their nomination, and congratulate Tony Avella on a spirited and hard-fought race. In the coming weeks, I will continue talking about the challenges we face in northeast Queens, in our state and in our nation, and how I plan to help people and tackle these issues as state senator. I’ll work hard to earn the support and confidence of all voters in the Nov. 6 general election, and I’ll work even harder once I take office,” said Liu.

Avella was not available to comment.

At Liu’s victory party, which was held at 40-12 Bell Blvd. in Bayside, more than 200 attendees cheered and high-fived each other throughout the night.

“I’m going to try to ensure that no other person tries to pull the wool over the eyes of the voters and starts making side deals that only better themselves and not the greater cause. The greater cause are the people of New York state,” said Liu.

On Election Day, Liu greeted voters at polling sites within the 11th Senate District — which covers Bayside, College Point, Auburndale, Beechhurst, Whitestone, Bay Terrace and parts of Flushing, Douglaston, Little Neck and Glen Oaks. He exuded confidence, believing his more progressive stance on issues could possibly turn the tide of votes in his favor.

“I think people are upset about what is happening in this country. Trump getting into the White House has woken people up about the sad state of affairs in New York state, particularly with this IDC collusion with Republicans blocking the legislation that people in New York state want,” said Liu.

Daniel Randall, a Bay Terrace resident who attended the victory party, agreed.

“It goes to show that if you betray your values you have to pay the price,” said Randall. “It has been a long time since we had a Democrat who represents us and represents our values.”

Several elected officials attended Liu’s victory party including, state Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal (D-Flushing) and City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest).

“The IDC was empowering Republicans and blocking a lot of good Democratic legislation,” said Rosenthal. “In the age of Trump we are not taking any chances anymore and we want real Democrats to represent us in Albany.”

Lancman agreed with Rosenthal.

“I’m thrilled. John is a terrific guy and he is going to be my senator,” said Lancman. “I’m going to have a senator that represents my values and who is not going to play footsies with the Republicans.”

Liu will take on Vickie Paladino, who defeated Simon Minching with 55. 8 percent of the votes in the Republican primary — with 100 percent of the precincts reporting, according to the city Board of Elections — in the Nov. 6 general election.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

More from Around New York