State Assembly incumbents Margaret Markey (D−Maspeth), Audrey Pheffer (D−Rockaway Beach) and Ann−Margaret Carrozza (D−Bayside) held onto their seats in Tuesday’s election, dismissing their Republican challengers and continuing a long history of Democratic control in the Queens delegation of the legislative body, according to preliminary election results.
According to NY1, the three incumbents easily defeated their Republican opponents, each taking in more than 65 percent of the votes counted with more than 95 percent of the polling precincts reporting.
Grace Meng, who defeated incumbent state Assemblywoman Ellen Young (D−Flushing) in September’s Democratic primary, ran unopposed and was officially elected an assemblywoman for the 22nd Assembly District, which mainly covers Flushing.
Markey defeated Republican opponent Anthony Nunziato by a margin of 68−31 percent, according to preliminary results.
Markey, who ran her campaign without a Web site apart from her standard Assembly site, touted her experience as the deciding factor in economically unstable times.
Nunziato, 51, trailed in fund−raising, but launched a modern−looking campaign Web site with news links, testimonials and even a Facebook group. He is a Woodside native who has owned a florist shop in Maspeth for 25 years. He said the economy was his first priority.
Markey was elected in 1998. She was previously director of marketing and tourism for former Borough President Claire Shulman. She also helped found Maspeth Town Hall in 1972, making a community center out of a former police station.
Nunziato is a member of the civic association, which has been critical of Markey’s vote to repeal the commuter tax on non−city residents in 1999.
In a race for the 23rd Assembly District on the Rockaway peninsula, Pheffer gathered more than 67 percent of the votes, according to the preliminary results, to handily defeat her GOP opponent Gerald Sullivan, who had just 31 percent.
Pheffer has served in the Assembly for 21 years, where she currently serves as chairwoman of the Assembly Consumer Protection Committee. She said improvements to education, such as advocating for smaller class sizes, would be her top priority heading into the next term.
Sullivan, meanwhile, said his campaign was focused on school, taxes, the financial crisis and the state budget. He advocated investigating Medicaid fraud rather than raising taxes and proposed tax breaks to families who send their children to private schools.
In northern Queens, Carozza trounced Republican Robert Speranza taking in more than 66 percent of the vote compared to her challenger’s 33 percent, the reported results said.
Carrozza, an elder care lawyer, was first elected in 1996 when she defeated Republican incumbent Doug Prescott. She said the budget crisis facing the state was the top priority for her district in the coming term and vowed not to let potential cuts affect education funding.
Speranza, a retired police officer, had called for the state to cut spending on ineffective programs rather than raise taxes.
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.
©2008 Community News Group
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