By Carlotta Mohamed
John Liu, former city comptroller, bested state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and challengers Vickie Paladino and Simon Minching in Tuesday’s midterm elections to secure the District 11 state Senate seat.
Liu tallied 54.1 percent of the votes with 97.3 percent of the precincts reporting, while Paladino nabbed 24 percent, according to unofficial results from NY1. Avella followed with 20.5 percent of the votes, while Minching secured 1.4 percent according to unofficial results from NY1.
Liu and Avella — a former member of the renegade Independent Democratic Conference member from 2014 to 2018 — went head-to-head in the September Democratic primary, which Liu won 52.9 percent of the votes, while Avella trailed behind with 47.1 percent.
In their second bout, Liu ran a campaign to unseat Avella who represented the 11th Senate District in Queens — which covers which covers Bayside, College Point, Auburndale, Beechhurst, Whitestone, Bay Terrace and parts of Flushing, Douglaston, Little Neck and Glen Oaks.
Earlier today, Liu and his family met with voters and cast their ballots at Edward Bleeker JHS — located at 185 at 147-26 25th Dr. in Flushing.
“I’m very happy because it’s been a tremendous turnout so far, and I think it’s going to be even bigger,” said Liu. “I think for our democracy, for our state, and country the more people vote, the better society will be.”
“I am confident that we’ve done everything that we possibly can. Nobody can control the outcome of the election,” Liu added. “The only thing we can control is our own effort, and we’ve put in maximum effort.”
Liu, who served as a city councilman from 2002 to 2013 and ran for mayor in 2013, narrowly lost a 2014 Senate primary for the seat to Avella. His mayoral campaign was clouded by campaign finance issues that resulted in prison terms for two aides.
Liu’s campaign was focused on fighting for education equity, the Reproductive Health Act, and quality-of-life issues in the district.
“The Reproductive Health Act is a priority,” said Liu. “A precedent that was set decades ago, Roe. v. Wade, is in peril.”
He also wants to fight to keep the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test — a proposal made by Mayor Bill de Blasio to drop the exam as the sole criteria for admission to the eight elite specialized high schools in the city.
Meanwhile, in his bid for re-election, Avella had also promised to continue working on quality-of-life issues in northeast Queens, preserving the SHSAT exam, and affordable housing.
“The battles we face everyday including over development, property taxes, airplane and helicopter noise, quality education, affordable health care and corruption in government are too important to hand over to either of these two primary winners,” said Avella.
Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmoha