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Tenants’ group endorses Frank Padavan

Now that the date to submit nominating petitions for political office has passed, Queens candidates for state and federal offices are starting to gear up and focus their campaign on attracting voters, support from elected officials and endorsements from political action committees and unions.

In northeast Queens, the already hotly contested race between state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) and Democrat challenger Rory Lancman, who hopes to unseat the 14-term incumbent, got even hotter with the Tenants Political Action Committee's endorsement of Padavan.

A third candidate, Paula Stadtmauer of 5331 Oceania St. in Bayside, has also filed a nominating petition to join the race. She is running under the Liberal party line.

"It's a pleasure for me to write you this letter to let you know that the Tenants Political Committee board of directors has voted to endorse your candidacy for re-election to the state Senate in the 11th Senate district," committee treasurer Michael McKee said in a letter to Padavan.

The Tenants Political Committee is a political group based in Manhattan that fights for tenants rights and is comprised of the leaders of New York's tenant organizations.

The endorsement could be seen as a blow to Lancman, who has been promoting himself as the pro-tenant candidate and has said that Padavan pays lip-service to renters but never speaks out on the senate floor to protect them. He also said Padavan has not voted to dislodge a Democratic pro-tenant bill that has been caught up in committee.

McKee said his organization valued Padavan's continuous support for tenants' rights in the state Senate. He said he knows that standing up for tenants' rights within the Republican Party is difficult because only a few members of the GOP support the rights of renters.

"I am deeply appreciative of this recognition by the Tenants Political Action Committee, an organization whose board of directors are the most dedicated and most knowledgeable people in New York on tenant affairs," Padavan said. "Mike McKee and the board members know the issues and the rules. It's a great compliment to have their support."

Lancman said the Tenants Political Action Committee's support of Padavan does not worry him because he has the backing of tenants who live in the district, such as the members of the Queens League of United Tenants, a non-profit organization which cannot endorse any candidate but whose members have come out for Lancman.

"It is sad after 28 years in the state Senate the only tenant group that is supporting Padavan is a group no one has ever heard of and is based in Manhattan," Lancman said. "Northeast Queens tenant groups are supporting me."

The Tenants Political Action Committee did not return repeated calls from the Times/Ledger.

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