The Senate and Assembly Primary Races To Watch
By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
In the most confusing election year in modern times, we are now into phase three of the primary season.
With a Presidential and then a Congressional Primary behind us, we look to Thursday, Sept. 13 (originally scheduled for Tuesday Sept. 11 but changed in deference to the date), the third and final State Primary will be held to select party candidates for Assembly, Senate and party positions.
Tens of millions of dollars in extra costs for extra primaries later, one would expect that a redistricting year (every tenth year) would bring many competitive races and challenges to incumbentrs.
Not so in New York.
While we chose to report here on five races, only four are competitive and only two of those four competitive races have an incumbent running.
While money is not the end all or be all in local primary races, it does play a factor. Moreover, the ability of a candidate to raise funds may indicate both strength of their network and willingness to work hard at fundraising. One would expect incumbents – and other office holders – would have a great advantage over challengers and newcomers when it comes to bucks in the bank.
Remember, any candidate who has raised large sums of money in a short period of time is likely to be able to continue raising substantial funds. Those who have raised an unimpressive amount are not likely to surprise us with big bucks going forward.
All financial data is from campaign reports as of July 12, 2012.
15th Senate District
Eric Ulrich, (R-Ozone Park) will win this primary with ease. In what I’ve said is an example of “Queens Republicans eating their young,” the feuding half of the party has decided to challenge Ulrich, causing him to use financial resources against Juan Reyes, instead of conserving for the winnable main event in this swing seat against incumbent Democrat Joe Addabbo Jr (D-Howard Beach).
Ulrich has raised triple what Addabbo has raised in the most recent reporting period. Look for the State Republican Senate to outspend their Democratic collegues significantly. Ulrich should easily win this Primary and enter the General as the favorite against Addabbo.
16th Senate District
This race has started smoking already, as businessman John Messer targets longtime incumbent Toby Stavisky in a newly-drawn district which is half Asian. Stavisky, who has never had an Asian on her staff is now reaching out to the Asian community.
Messer, married to a Chinese woman, is expected to win the Asian portion of the district and has banked significantly more funds than Stavisky in the reporting period.
This one is up for grabs.
10 SENATE DISTICT
Incumbent State Senator Shirley Huntley is being challenged by sitting Councilman James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton) The two office holders have in their campaign accounts a poultry $22,271 and $15,488 as of the last filing.
Unimpressive efforts by both candidates in this newly-drawn district which now includes the Rockaways helping Sanders.
It’s a toss-up.
ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 25
In this seat vacated by Rory Lancman, the Dem organization backed Jerry Iannece has run for office at least three times in the past and always seems to be a bridesmaid. The energetic campaign of newcomer Nily Rozic looks to do it to him again.
The former chief of staff of Manhattan Assemblyman Brian Kavanaugh has outraised and spent more cautiously than the longtime pol.
We would be surprised if this is the race which surprises this year. Watch Rozic.
ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 40
As Grace Meng continues her historic Congressional campaign, a wild melee is taking shape to replace her.
Yen Chou, who three years ago won a primary for Council only to lose to popular, then-Republican Peter Koo (D-Flushing), has demonstrated both her fundraising and campaigning ability and therefore is to be considered the slight frontrunner. Ethel Chen, who has been seeking office for more than a decade, will take some of the Chinese votes from Chen.
Koreans Ron Kim and Myungsuk Lee will divide their ethnic block. Look for Kim’s efforts to knock Lee off the ballot in order to become competitive in this race.
Finally, longtime pol Martha Flores-Vasquez with little or no money and comic book store owner John Scandalios round out the field. With four Asians in the race, perhaps an ethnic upset could be had in this largley Asian seat, but it would take substantial funding to pull out voters. Neither Scandalios or Flores-Vasquez seem to have any.
Someone will have to do some impressive work to take this away from Yen Chou.