Councilmen to face challenges in fall elections

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At least 20 challengers are hoping to unseat Queens incumbent City Council members in the primary and general elections this year, according to campaign finance records.

The entire delegation is up for re-election this year, just halfway through their four-year terms, due to the redistricting process, which shifted boundary lines and added a council seat in Ridgewood, bringing the number of borough representatives to 15.

Although it is still early in the political season, the 35 total candidates is about half of the 60 people who joined the race in 2001, when all the Queens incumbents were forced out of office by term limits.

Three southeast Queens councilmen — Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), Allan Jennings (D-Jamaica) and James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton) — may face multiple candidates come election day, along with Flushing Democrat John Liu, according to Campaign Finance Board statements. About five council members do not yet have opponents, while incumbents in five other races could face one challenger each, according to the statements.

Candidates planning to participate in the city’s matching funds program must register with the Campaign Finance Board, but they must also submit designating petitions to the Board of Elections showing signatures in support of their candidacies to officially make the ballot.

Most of the Queens council districts were largely untouched by the redistricting process, which moved the boundaries to reflect the population changes in the 2000 Census. The Ridgewood neighborhood in Queens, formerly in Republican Dennis Gallagher’s District 30, was shifted to the Brooklyn district of Democratic Councilwoman Diana Reyna.

Jennings also lost part of downtown Jamaica, but gained a section of Richmond Hill in exchange.

Here are the candidates who filed their intentions to run with the Campaign Finance Board or have announced their candidacies.

District 19: Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), Republican Philip Ragusa.

District 20: Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing), Democrat Jay Liu, Democrat Kim Ohanian and Issac Sasson.

District 21: Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-Corona).

District 22: Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), Green Party candidate Gerald Kann.

District 23: Councilman David Weprin (D-Hollis), William Horowitz.

District 24: Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), Democrat Florence Fisher and Democrat David Reich.

District 25: Councilwoman Helen Sears (D-Jackson Heights).

District 26: Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Sunnyside), Republican Patrick Hurley.

District 27: Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), Democrat Helen Cooper-Gregory, Democrat Stephen Jackson and Martina Duran.

District 28: Councilman Allan Jennings (D-Jamaica), Stephen Jones, Democrat Garth Marchant, Democrat Yvonne Reddick, Democrat Inderjit Singh and Republican Carolyn Younger-Nolan.

District 29: Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills).

District 30: Councilman Dennis Gallagher (D-Middle Village).

District 31: Councilman James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton), Democrat James Blake and Republican Everly Brown.

District 32: Councilman Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach).

District 34: Councilwoman Diana Reyna (D-Brooklyn), Juan Martinez.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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