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Analyzing some of the most competitive Queens races ahead of Aug. 23 primary election

primary election
(Photo by Paul Frangipane)

With early voting for the Aug. 23 primary set to kick off Saturday, Aug. 13, Queens voters can cast their ballots for races including the U.S. House of Representatives and state Senate.

The first set of primary elections was held on June 28 for statewide elected positions, such as gubernatorial, lieutenant governor and the state Assembly. Both primaries were originally going to take place on June 28, but due to the New York Court of Appeals striking down district maps, the congressional and state Senate primary races were moved to August.

Ahead of the early voting period for this month’s primary, QNS is taking a look at some of the more competitive races throughout the borough. 

In the Democratic primary for New York’s 15th State Senate district– which now includes the neighborhoods of Rego Park and Richmond Hill– there are two candidates running against incumbent Joseph Addabbo Jr.: Japneet Singh and Albert Baldeo. 

Singh is running on a moderate platform which includes support for law enforcement. Singh has also supported amending the bail reform bill. 

As a member of the Sikh community, Singh has been outspoken about hate crime attacks that have occurred in the 15th District. 

Meanwhile, Baldeo is president of the Alliance of South Asian American Labor’s Richmond Hill Chapter. However, he is also known for his 2014 arrest for interfering in an FBI investigation relating to the use of straw donors in his City Council campaign. Despite this, Baldeo is strongly outraising Singh

Another competitive race is the Democratic primary for New York’s 59th State Senate district, which encompasses Long Island City and Astoria. Unlike the Democratic primary for the 15th District, candidates are vying for a new seat. 

One of the most notable candidates in the District 59 race is former New York City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, who is seen as the more moderate candidate.

In terms of political positions, Crowley is in favor of many positions supported by the Democratic Party such as gun control, abortion rights and Universal Pre-K. She has been endorsed by Mayor Eric Adams, Queens Congressman Gregory Meeks and several members of the state Legislature. 

Another notable thing about this primary is that there are two candidates who represent the more progressive wing of the Democratic Party. One of these candidates is Kristen Gonzalez, an organizer for the Democratic Socialists of America who has been endorsed by fellow member and Queens/Bronx Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. 

Gonzalez’s platform includes implementing single-payer health care in the state of New York and building renewable energy that is publicly owned. 

However, a fellow Democratic Socialist named Nomiki Konst also joined the race, raising fears among progressives that her candidacy will split the vote among more left-leaning Democrats. 

“I have a strong, proven, progressive track record of large-scale political organizing and being community driven,” Knost said. “I was recruited by community leaders and members to bring that energy and leadership to Albany.”

In fact, Knost’s campaign argued that Gonzalez is actually the spoiler candidate out of the two, claiming the former has higher name recognition than Gonzalez. 

“It is likely, if unbiased polling were done today, Nomiki would have much higher name recognition than Kristen Gonzalez. Nomiki has raised more money per month and has more cash on hand,” Knost’s campaign told The Queens Courier. “Gonzalez has spent more than half her funds in another district, with voters who will not be voting in this election.”

Another candidate is Michael Corbett, a vice chair of the New York Democratic Party who was endorsed by New York City Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. Small business owner Francoise Olivas was also running in the race, but she dropped out late last month and endorsed Crowley.

Early voting for the August primaries takes place from Aug. 13 to Aug. 21. Election Day is Tuesday Aug. 23, with polls open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Primary winners will face off in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 8, with polls open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. The early voting period for the general election begins Oct. 29 and runs through Nov. 6.

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