Meng Beats Young in Primary for Flushing Seat
By Noah C. Zuss
A member of the Meng family is back on the ballot in Flushing.
Challenger Grace Meng defeated incumbent Ellen Young in the Democratic Primary for the 22nd Assembly District. With no Republican challenger vying for the seat on Election Day, Meng is virtually assured the Assembly seat.
Meng won with 2,651 votes to Young’s 1,864, in the only contested democratic primary race for an Assembly seat in the borough. Meng received 58 percent of the vote compared the incumbent’s 41 percent.
The race was billed by the challenger’s camp as a referendum on the direction and ethnic politics of Flushing.
It pitted Meng, a younger candidate against a leader of the older, predominantly Chinese guard. Meng made a point of including a diverse list of candidates on her ballot, while Young, allied with Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) ran on a ticket dominated by Chinese leaders.
Meng is allied with a political camp that she said is more in touch with the needs of the community.
“It’s an affirmation by the community of our service.” Meng said. “I think people realized they can have better access to government. We really emphasized unity and working together.”
She will retake the seat her father Jimmy Meng vacated after he served a two-year term, but then decided not to run for again in 2006.
“I feel good, we celebrated last night,” she said. “There is a lot of work to be done.”
The winner of the primary is assured a seat in the Assembly as a viable republican challenger has not stepped forward.
In the coming days Meng plans to make a victory lap around the community to thank her supporters and show that “people won’t just see me during campaign season, I will be around after the election.”
Councilman Liu, a longtime ally and supporter of Young congratulated Meng on her win and said he looks forward to working with her.
“Grace is a bright and energetic campaigner and she will be a bright and energetic elected official,” he said. “I look forward to working with her on behalf of the community.”
Commenting on the race, Liu said, “I think competitive elections are always good for people. The community will be strong as ever.”
The Young camp was congratulatory, yet disappointed by the results. Young’s deputy campaign manager, Scott Sieber said she has not made any plans, political or otherwise yet.
“At this point it may be a bit early for that,” he said. “Of course we worked hard and put up a good campaign and we congratulate Grace on her victory.”
Sieber also mentioned that her term doesn’t end for nearly four months, time Young will use to continue to work hard for Flushing.
“She will work through the remainder of her tenure. We still have work to do.”
Grace Meng votes on Primary Day, hours before she beat Ellen Young.