By Naeisha Rose
John Liu, the former city comptroller, emerged victorious Thursday night in the Democratic primary, besting state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) in their second primary bout.
With 98 percent of the precincts reporting, Liu captured 52.9 percent of the votes, while Avella trailed with 47.1 percent, according to unofficial results from NY1.
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.
Earlier today, 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 on Election Day, believing his more progressive stance on issues could possibly turn the tide of votes in his favor.
“At this point it’s kind of like you studied for the exam and now you know, it’s in the hand of the guys upstairs,” said Liu. “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.”
Liu believes issues like women’s rights over their bodies is what gave him the edge in his victory.
“I think people care more about the issues — the big issue being a woman’s right to choose, which is one of the most important priorities to me,” Liu said.
Liu accused Avella of being a part of the obstruction of codifying the Reproductive Health Act even though for many years it has managed to pass through the Assembly.
“That is an issue that is driving people to make up their minds about my opponent,” said Liu.
Avella has fought for maintenance of city-owned trees, the preservation of the SHSAT, and the creation of more gifted and talented school programs. He has also pushed the city’s Department of Buildings to crack down on the amount of illegal conversions in properties throughout the city.
“I am very proud of the fact that in the last three years I have passed the most bills than any other Democratic senator,” said Avella, adding that he passed more than 90 bills in 2017. “In fact some of the Republicans were complaining that I was passing too many bills.”
Liu will take on Vickie Paladino, who defeated Simon Minching with 57.1 percent of the votes in the Republican primary — with 98 percent of the precincts reporting — in the Nov. 6 general election.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose