Former Queens state Senator Tony Avella will run for old City Council seat

Tony Avella. Photo via nysenate.gov

Following former Senator Tony Avella’s loss during the 11th Senate District election, he all but disappeared. His social media accounts remained untouched since November 2018, save for a few Facebook posts advertising a yard sale at his home in Whitestone. His official LinkedIn account lists him as “retired” since January 2019.

But now the former IDC member is ready to run for office again. POLITICO first reported on Board of Elections records, which showed that Avella registered as a candidate for his old City Council seat in District 19. Councilman Paul Vallone currently holds the position but faces term limits in 2021, according to a local newspaper.

Avella was councilman from 2002 to 2009 and ran an unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2009. He then ran for senator in District 11, unseating longtime Republican Senator Frank Padavan.

In 2014, Avella joined the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) along with seven other Democratic Senators. The IDC was heavily criticized for caucusing separately from other Democrats in the Senate.

That same year, Avella won the Senate seat against Senator John Liu by a margin of fewer than 1,000 votes. But in 2018, the former city comptroller defeated Avella, securing over 54 percent of the votes last November. Avella, who ran on third party lines, earned only 21 percent of the vote.

During his 2018 campaign, a judge found that Avella accepted $42,000 in State Independence Campaign Committee funds (SICC) after the court and BOE ordered former IDC members to relinquish those funds. Avella had taken approximately $145,000 from the SICC fund since 2016.