Make a difference

The primary is right around the corner and there are several important races in Queens to keep an eye on.

In northeast Queens, voters will choose between state Sen. Tony Avella and challenger John Liu on the Democratic line, while Vicky Paladino and Simon Minching are battling for the Republican nomination in District 11. The Avella-Liu race is a rematch of the 2014 primary in which Avella narrowly defeated Liu by 894 votes.

In western Queens, there are heated races for both the state Senate and Assembly.

State Sen. Jose Peralta — who, like Avella, returned to the Democratic Party after a stint with the now-defunct IDC — is hoping to fend off a challenge from Jessica Ramos, a former member of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s staff who has assembled an impressive list of endorsements

Catalina Cruz and Yonel Letellier Sosa are up against state Assemblywoman Ari Espinal, who earned the seat after running unopposed in an April special election to fill the spot vacated by Francisco Moya, who moved from the Assembly to the City Council last year.

There are other races to watch in Queens, too, including incumbent Brian Barnwell vs. Melissa Sklarz in the 30th Assembly District and Oster Bryan vs. Assemblyman Clyde Vanel for the District 33 seat.

There’s a wrinkle to this year’s primary. The election will be held on Thursday, Sept. 13, rather than on a traditional Tuesday, which falls on Sept. 11 this year.

Most of the primary candidates who came to the TimesLedger office for interviews with the editorial staff said they believed the already low voter turnout would be even lower this time around because of the date change and the fact that there are three elections this year in New York City: the June congressional primary, the Sept. 13 Democratic primary and the Nov. 6 general election.

Now more than ever voters must head to the polls on Election Day, given the status of the country’s political climate. We saw in the June primary the potential for change when longtime Congressman Joe Crowley lost the Democratic race to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old political newcomer who pulled off an upset that shocked the political world in Queens and Washington.

Her victory could be the start of a new dawn in politics — one where the status quo no longer exists; one where everyone has a chance to have their voices heard. She found a way to entice voters in the 14th Congressional District and other candidates are trying to follow in her steps.

There has been an increased effort to drive voters to the polls. And, ultimately, that’s the only way there can be change. It’s up to the voters to make a difference.