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Vallone says he’ll remain on Council: Astoria rep denies plan to leave seat for possible boro prez run

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Gianaris, who declined comment on the plan, said he would campaign this fall to retain his Albany seat. And Vallone, who laughed off the idea that he would step down from the Council, said he is seriously considering a run for borough president next year, but has not yet officially declared his candidacy."It would make absolutely no sense for me to step down," Vallone said. "There are a lot of graffiti vandals who want me to resign, but it's not going to happen. I'm going to continue to be the [City Council's] Public Safety [Committee] chairman for the next year and a half."Other candidates who have been mentioned as potential candidates for borough president include Council members Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and Helen Sears (D-Jackson Heights) as well as state Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer (D-Rockaway Beach).Both Vallone and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall will be term limited out of office in 2009.But Scott Levenson, a Democratic consultant for Manhattan's Advance Group, said that some members of the Queens County Democratic Party support a plan in which Vallone would step down and Gianaris would run for his City Council seat in a special election.Under the plan, Gianaris would serve out the remainder of Vallone's term, giving him a headstart to work toward becoming the next City Council speaker after current Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) is term limited out of office in 2009, Levenson said.But Levenson said the rumored plan could very likely not leave the speculative stage."It's a very rare occasion for an elected official to voluntarily resign from his post for some kind of political positioning and it is rare when giving up that post is a strategically beneficial solution," he said.In early April, the Insider of Crain's New York Business reported that the Queens Democratic Party had floated a scenario under which it would support Gianaris for Council speaker, Pheffer for borough president, Comrie for deputy borough president and Vallone for Gianaris' Assembly seat to prevent party in-fighting."These are talented people who are up for a competitive, theoretically open seat," Levenson said. "So, if one could find a solution to these talented folks not running against each other, it would clearly be ideal from the county organization's point of view."But Gianaris said he would focus on retaining his Assembly seat during this fall's election."I've said that the City Council would represent an interesting opportunity for me to make a difference for my neighborhood," he said. "But right now, I'm planning on running for re-election."Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

Updated 6:58 pm, October 10, 2011
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