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Political Action: Race for Avella’s seat heats up between Halloran, Kim

State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) recently indicated that in his 40 years in politics he has never seen anything like it whereby a candidate’s religion became a political issue.

It is disturbing in light of the fact that our country was originally formed by people who came here to escape religious persecution and that all our Founding Fathers strongly supported the concept of religious freedom, especially Thomas Jefferson. For those who choose to make a religious test a political issue, I want to remind them the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

During the last few days I have tried repeatedly to contact Kim to ask him about his views on the issues and if he had anything to do with the recent attacks on Halloran regarding his religious background — that is, does he approve of these attacks and what is his position on Halloran’s religious practices?

He has not responded.

As we look at the race that is unfolding, Halloran has just had the official opening of his campaign headquarters on Bell Boulevard in Bayside, where Chase had a bank branch office. His newly appointed campaign director is Darryl Fox, who in 1993 directed Rudy Giuliani’s field operation when Giuliani won his first term as mayor.

During the last few days Halloran had a well-attended fund-raising event with an enthusiastic group of well-wishers attending. Halloran is receiving matching funds from the city in his quest for elective office; Kim is not. Kim can raise as much money as he wants and continues to do so.

As had been previously mentioned, Halloran has four party endorsements: Republican, Conservative, Independence and Libertarian. Several months ago, during the time when designating petitions were being circulated and filed, Kim filed opportunity to ballot petitions for the Independence Party. He was seeking to initiate a write-in primary against Halloran within the Independence Party, but the attempt failed. The city Board of Elections invalidated Kim’s opportunity to ballot petitions.

Kim is running only on the Democratic Party line. The Working Families Party has no candidate in the 19th Council District. There is a series of candidates night forums being set up during October by various community organizations, mostly civics. How well the candidates do at these events will be a good test of their ability to represent the people of their district.

Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), of the 19th District, is completing his second and last term in office. He will be giving up this seat in January to the winner of the Nov. 3 election between Halloran and Kim. Having just run for mayor in a Democratic primary against city Comptroller Bill Thompson, he has increased his name recognition and fund-raising capability.

Avella has also built a stronger campaign organization. With these new political tools to work with, he might present a formidable candidacy in the near future. There are rumors Avella is considering running against Padavan for the 11th Senate District seat next year. We will see how that develops as the election cycle moves forward.

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