Padavan, Gennaro keep busy

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Though the political fates of state Sen. Frank Padavan (R−Bellerose) and City Councilman James Gennaro (D−Fresh Meadows) will not be known for at least days, the two politicians said they were getting on with business.

“We’re continuing our work,” Padavan said. “We’re going to Albany on the 18th.”

The senator will head to the capitol to work on closing an approximate $1.5 billion budget gap for this year. Padavan pointed out that legislators will be discussing the budget for next year, when Gov. David Paterson said lawmakers will face a $12.5 billion deficit.

While Paterson has said mid−year cuts to school aid and deep reductions to health care may be inevitable, Padavan said he plans to “fight that tooth and nail.”

Gennaro has hunkered down in his Council office to craft environmental legislation, said his spokesman, Shams Tarek.

“Pharmaceuticals had been found in the drinking water supples in major cities, and one of those places was New York City,” Tarek said. “Jim held a hearing on that a couple months back and the result of that hearing is a piece of legislation we’ll be introducing” by week’s end.

A report by the Associated Press in March found a wide range of pharmaceuticals, from anti−convulsants to mood stabilizers, had been found in the drinking water of at least 41 million Americans.

Padavan currently leads Gennaro by 723 votes, according to results reported by NY1. All 232 precincts in the 11th Senate District have been counted, but there are about 7,000 paper affidavit ballots that need to be sorted, according to a Queens Elections Board representative.

Elections Board officials were expected to begin counting the paper ballots Thursday a day after voting machines were to be recanvassed.

Once the paper ballots are counted, it could be a day or months before Padavan or Gennaro is declared the winner “because of litigation,” said Gennaro campaign consultant Evan Stavisky.

There could be court battles over the validity of certain ballots, Stavisky said.

“We’re confident Jim Gennaro is going to win this election for a variety of reasons,” Stavisky said. “First and foremost, he’s a great candidate who worked extremely hard, it’s a solidly Democratic district and it was a great Democratic year. When the votes are counted, Jim Gennaro will be the next senator.”

Queens’ other Republican state senator, Serphin Maltese of Glendale, went down in defeat to Councilman Joseph Addabbo (D−Howard Beach).

Though the remaining Queens Democratic Senate candidates swept the vote and Democrats outnumber Republicans in his district by about 3 to 1, Padavan said he expects to garner votes from residents who likely split their ticket between president−elect U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D−Ill.) and himself.

“In 36 years, we’ve done so much in terms of serving our constituency in just about every area you can think of from schools to Little League fields to parks,” Padavan said.

There was an influx of Democratic voters in district, and from July to October, 4,100 district residents registered Democratic, compared to 711 Republicans. Padavan, who has represented the district since 1972, said he ran a positive campaign that focused on his past 36 years in the Senate, during which he said he was an advocate against crime, fought to contain costs of welfare and Medicaid and was a proponent of education and the environment.

Gennaro ran on the platform that he would breathe new life into Albany, which he said sends too little aid to the city.

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