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Hiram Monserrate circulates Assembly petitions

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He won his day in court, and now he is hoping to win his day at the polls.

A source close to Hiram Monserrate said the former Democratic state senator, who was ousted from his Jackson Heights seat after cutting girlfriend Karla Giraldo’s face with a broken glass, has been taking petitions to run for the Assembly seat left vacant by Jose Peralta. Monserrate is facing Francisco Moya in the Democratic primary this fall.

The Assembly seat, located in Jackson Heights, opened up in March when fellow Democrat Peralta ran against Monserrate for his old Senate post in a special election and won in a landslide victory of 66 percent to 27 percent.

A judge who in an October 2009 non-jury trial found Monserrate guilty of third-degree misdemeanor assault for dragging Giraldo out of his apartment on the way to the hospital in December 2008 partially lifted an order of protection against Monserrate July 5, allowing Monserrate to see Giraldo, who said she still loved him.

But the campaign of community activist Moya does not believe voters should be so forgiving toward Monserrate.

“We’re going to be the shining example of everything Hiram Monserrate is not,” said Nathan Smith, a consultant for Moya’s campaign.

Moya, who also ran for Monserrate’s old City Council seat in February 2009 but lost to Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst), has collected 4,600 signatures and raised more than $103,000, Smith said. Ferreras was Monserrate’s chief of staff when he was in the city council.

Smith said the main focuses of Moya’s campaign will be reform in Albany, improving public schools, providing jobs and growing the economy, affordable housing and revitalizing New York’s manufacturing.

Smith contended Monserrate has already been playing “dirty politics.” On June 13, Smith said Monserrate’s petitioners allegedly harassed Moya and his father while they were taking petitions at St. Leo’s Church in Corona. Monserrate allegedly showed up later and harassed Moya as well, Smith said.

“This is his modus operandi,” Smith said.

Monserrate and members of his campaign could not be reached for comment.

No Republican candidate has emerged. Calls to the Queens Republican Party were not returned.

Jackson Heights activist Brian Pu-Folkes was at one point running for the seat, but has since left the race and endorsed Moya, Smith said. Moya has also been endorsed by the Working Families Party, Smith said.

Monserrate’s former opponent, Peralta, will be running against Republican candidate Richard LaSalle in the race for the Jackson Heights senate seat.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 6:19 pm, October 10, 2011
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