Chen, Albert run quiet race as Meng vies for Assembly

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More than a month after the Democratic primary, the candidates who lost the Democratic nomination in Flushing’s 22nd Assembly District have headed in opposite directions.

Jimmy Meng, who is running on the Independent and the Conservative lines in the Nov. 5 general election, is still actively campaigning. But Ethel Chen, who is on the Liberal line, and John Albert, on the Working Families Party line, have closed down their campaigns.

Meng, Chen and Albert lost the Democratic primary to Barry Grodenchik. Grodenchik edged out Meng with 1,598 votes to Meng’s 1,446, while Chen had 956 votes and Albert had 336.

The 22nd Assembly District was created in the redistricting process as a result of data from the 2000 Census. The state Legislature drew the lines of the district so it would have a majority population of Asian Americans.

But Grodenchik, who had the backing of the Queens Democratic Party and won the primary, was the only non-Asian in the race after fellow Democrat Richard Jannaccio was knocked off the ballot as part of the petition process.

The district is 53.3 percent Asian, 20.1 percent white, 18.7 percent Hispanic and 4.5 percent black, based on the 2000 Census.

Of the nearly 40,000 registered voters in the 22nd Assembly District, roughly 29 percent are Asian-Americans, according to political observers familiar with the district.

Meng is a Flushing businessman and former head of the Flushing Chinese Business Association. Grodenchik works as an adviser to Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. Chen is a retired librarian and former district leader, while Albert is an attorney and political newcomer.

Republican Meilin Tan, who like Chen has served as a librarian and district leader, and Green Party candidate, activist and ultrasound technician Evergreen Chou also are in the running.

Having raised a significantly more money than other candidates in the race, Meng said he thought he would win despite coming in second in the Democratic primary.

“I’m still fund-raising,” he said. “We have had a good response.”

Chen, however, has had a very different response to her loss in the Democratic primary.

Chen noted that the candidate running on the Democratic line almost always wins in Queens.

“It doesn’t mean anything now,” she said.

Albert expressed a similar sentiment.

“I’m looking into options, including withdrawing from the race,” Albert said.

Grodenchik, on the other hand, hesitated to call himself the front- runner despite the Democratic nomination.

“I’m not taking anybody’s vote for granted,” he said. “I believe I am going to win this race, but that’s because we have a large advantage over Republicans with voter registration.”

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

Posted 7:24 pm, October 10, 2011
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