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Stavisky defeats primary challenger

State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) was victorious in Tuesday Democratic primary, fending off a surprisingly strong showing by her low-profile competitor Robert Schwartz, according to unofficial results from the state Board of Elections.

In Flushing, Grace Meng upset state Assemblywoman Ellen Young (D-Flushing), defeating the incumbent by 14 percentage points to secure the Democratic nomination for the 22nd Assembly District, the Board of Elections said.

Stavisky won by a large margin, collecting more than 65 percent of the votes cast for a total of 4,603, according to unofficial totals from the Board of Elections. Schwartz, who rarely promoted his campaign in public, won a surprising 2,411 of the votes cast for 34 percent, based on 98 percent of the polling sites reporting.

Schwartz's campaign was funded almost entirely through $130,000 he loaned to himself, according to campaign filings, virtually all of which was spent on elaborate mass mailings attacking Stavisky's record as the representative of the 16th Senate District.

Campaign filings show Stavisky spent more than $49,000 in the weeks leading up to the primary.

With the win, Stavisky will face what is expected to be stiffer competition from Republican challenger Peter Koo, who has raised more than $224,000 for a November fight against the incumbent senator.

The 16th Senate District snakes from Bayside and Whitestone through Flushing and Forest Hills, stretching as far west as Rego Park and east into portions of Oakland Gardens.

In the race for the 22nd AD, which covers Flushing, Meng gathered 2,568 votes for 55 percent of the votes cast, soundly defeating Young, who managed to draw just 1,792 votes for 41 percent, according to the Board of Elections.

The race between Meng and Young was the most competitive primary in Queens, with each candidate generating substantial fund-raising totals and snapping up endorsements over the summer.

During the course of the day Tuesday, officials from the Young campaign accused Meng of electioneering, contending that several members of her campaign team had violated state laws by trying to influence voters at polling sites.

Meng denied her campaign had broken any laws but said her team had been out at polling sites in force to protect voter's rights.

"A lot of people have been turned away from the polls without even being given a Voter's Affidavit, including my own grandmother," Meng said. "We are out here to make sure that everyone gets to vote. That's their right."

According to campaign finance records filed 11 days before Tuesday's primary, Meng had spent more than $197,000 on her campaign, far outpacing Young, who had spent $71,298.

Young, however, boasted a bigger war chest for the final week and a half headed into the primary, with $219,743 on hand, compared with Meng, who had $179,705 at her disposal as of the Aug. 29 filing.

The primary marked the second time Meng and Young faced off for the seat.

Meng was slated to run for the seat when he father decided not to seek re-election to the post in 2006, but was forced off the ballot after Young challenged her residency status. Young went on to defeat former City Councilwoman Julia Harrison and Korean community organizer Terence Park, who are now running with Meng for district leader seats.

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

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