Today’s news:

Jannaccio knocked out of assembly race

Richard Jannaccio, the Democratic activist who hoped to become Flushing’s new assemblyman, has been taken off the September primary ballot due to the Queens Democratic Party’s challenge of signatures he collected.

But Democrat newcomer John Albert, whose signatures were also challenged by the Democratic Party, was kept on the ballot by the Board of Elections in the same race. A court hearing was scheduled for Thursday to determine once and for all whether Albert will participate in September’s primary.

Going unchallenged by other candidates, Democratic district leader Ethel Chen, Democratic businessman Jimmy Meng, Democratic political aide Barry Grodenchik, Republican district leader Meilin Tan and Green Party activist Evergreen Chou remained on the ballot for the newly created 22nd Assembly District, which is centered on downtown Flushing.

In order to prove their viability as a candidate, state law requires candidates to collect a certain number of signatures of supportive residents. The signatures must include the address of the signee.

Once the signatures are submitted, they can be contended by any resident of the district who is registered in the same party of the challenged candidate. The Board of Elections must then go through the signatures one by one, striking out any that appear problematic.

In the new 22nd Assembly District, representatives of the Queens Democratic Party challenged the petitions of Jannaccio and Albert on behalf of Grodenchik, who has the party’s backing.

Jannaccio said he collected 1,010 signatures of residents voicing support for him. But in reviewing the papers, the city Board of Elections reduced the number of acceptable signatures to about 200, well below the necessary 500 signatures to remain on the ballot.

In his 2001 bid to become Flushing’s councilman, Jannaccio survived a challenge by the Queens Democratic Party. Jannaccio said he had felt more confident with this year’s signatures than last year’s.

“They just went along with the machine’s bogus challenges,” Jannaccio said of the Board of Elections decision. “Whether they were instructed to do so or whether they didn’t know what to look for, I don’t know.”

Albert said he had collected 807 signatures. In reviewing the challenge, the Board of Elections kept slightly more than 500 of them.

“I have survived the board of elections,” Albert said. “It’s a war of attrition, and they are trying to break me, and I am fighting.”

The Queens Democratic Party has challenged the Board of Elections decision. Whether Albert ultimately remains on the ballot was scheduled to be decided Thursday in court.

“I’m confident that it is not going to be reversed,” Albert said.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at or call 229-0300 Ext. 141.

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