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Candidates seek signatures

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Potential candidates for the high-profile state Assembly and Senate races in Queens made their final push to get the required 500 signatures to be placed on the ballot this week as the summer election season moved into full swing.

Would-be candidates for the 22nd Assembly District seat, currently occupied by Ellen Young (D-Flushing), and the 16th state Senate district, currently occupied by Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), have until Thursday evening to file the required signatures to be placed on the ballot for the Sept. 9 primary election, which precedes the general election Nov. 4.

Joe Rubens, a spokesman for the Young and Stavisky campaign, said both incumbents are expected to file more than enough signatures to place them on the ballot for re-election.

"We will be filing with many more times the signatures required by the deadline," Ruben said.

Meanwhile, Young's Democratic challenger, Grace Meng, announced Monday afternoon that her campaign had filed more than 6,000 signatures in her second bid to be elected to the Assembly seat her father, Jimmy Meng, once held.

Meng's campaign manager, Michael Olmeda, said he expects the signatures will be more than enough to weather any challenges by Young, who has the backing of the Queens County Democratic Party.

Once the signatures are filed, which must occur by July 10, potential candidates can challenge the validity of any and all of the signatures collected during a three-week period before the ballots are confirmed by the state Elections Board Aug. 4. The challenges can often lead to candidates being tossed from the ballot if enough of their signatures are deem invalid by a judge.

Meng said she was extremely pleased to generate as many signatures as she has and added that she is looking forward to the September primary. She brushed aside the notion of inter-party squabbling leading up to the primary, noting that her father had successfully secured the nomination without the backing of county Democrats in the primary but eventually won the general election with their support in the general election.

"Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the Queens Democratic Party. After my father ran and won without their support, the next day we were one big happy family," she said. "Ultimately, everyone has the same goals."

Meanwhile, members of the Queens County Republican Party made their final push Monday to secure Peter Koo's nomination as the GOP challenger to Stavisky. Party supporters gathered in Whitestone to obtain signatures for Koo as well as GOP Senate incumbents Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale) and Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose).

Queens County Republican Party Executive Director Daniel Egers said the party expects to file more than 2,000 signatures for Koo along with at least 2,500 for Padavan and 2,700 for Maltese by Thursday's deadline.

"Were very happy with where we stand for our Senate races," Egers said.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

Posted 6:38 pm, October 10, 2011
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