Photo courtesy (l.) Dennis Saffran and by Christina Santucci
By Phil Corso

Democrat Paul Vallone has raised nearly $50,000 more than Republican opponent Dennis Saffran in the race to replace outgoing City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) as the two gear up for November’s general election.

City Campaign Finance Board records showed Vallone ahead in the financial arms race with $123,772 in his coffers, compared to Saffran’s $73,485 with just two weeks to go before the Nov. 5 election. The two have been racking up key political endorsements in the home stretch of the long race for the northeast Queens 19th District seat after a heated five-way Democratic primary ended last month.

Vallone’s camp received noteworthy campaign contributions from key labor unions and organizations like the city Corrections Officers Benevolent Association, the Doctors Council SEIU and Small Business Coalition Inc. — all of which donated $2,750. The Flushing attorney also collected $250 from the Lieutenants Benevolent Association, CFB records showed.

Some of Vallone’s top contributions with the maximum donation of $2,750 came from individuals, including his mother Tena Vallone, an Astoria resident, the CFB said. It was one of his earliest contributions, received in October last year when Vallone started raising money for the Council run.

Vallone’s camp received some flack leading up to the September Democratic primary after Jobs for New York, a political action committee for the Real Estate Board of New York, spent $220,496 in support of Vallone with $25,000 going toward attack ads against three of his four primary opponents.

Saffran, on the other hand, received a sizeable amount of campaign money from a Republican whose name remains on the tip of his party leaders’ tongues throughout Queens: former state Sen. Frank Padavan.

According to campaign finance records, Saffran collected three separate Padavan donations totaling $2,810. The Douglaston attorney also received a $200 donation from the Friends of Joseph Concannon campaign, which represents the retired NYPD officer from Bellerose running for a neighboring Council seat represented by Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens).

Just over $8,000 of Saffran’s money came from his own pocket, campaign finance records showed, filed just after he entered the race in late April.

Saffran’s decision to enter the race came about six months after Vallone threw in his hat as Halloran announced he would not seek re-election so he could focus on repairing his reputation left damaged by a federal indictment accusing him of using corruption and bribery to inject Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) into the mayoral race as a Republican.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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