West Queens races heat up

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The 2010 elections mean seven New York Assembly seats in western Queens are up for grabs, and thousands of dollars have been raised across the board. Yet in what looks to be the most contentious race in the area, two of the candidates have not filed with the New York State Board of Elections on how much money they have raised or spent in their campaign.

Monserrate eyes Albany return

Three candidates are currently vying for the 39th Assembly District seat in Jackson Heights, which was left vacant when Democrat Jose Peralta won the Jackson Heights state Senate seat in a special March 16 election against Hiram Monserrate, who was ousted from the post in February 2010 for assaulting his girlfriend.

While all three candidates for the empty Jackson Heights Assembly seat have filed petitions with the Board of Election, only Democrat Francisco Moya, has filed campaign contributions and expenditures. Democrat Monserrate, who is also running in the Assembly race to take the seat of the man who won his, has not filed any contributions and expenditures. Nor has Humberto Suarezmotta, the Republican candidate in the race.

According to the most recent campaign finance filings, Moya has raised $105,225.45 in contributions since Jan. 1. Top donors include Lawpac of New York, which has contributed $7,600, and the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association Inc., which has contributed $6,800. Moya has also received smaller contributions from lawmakers such as U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights, state Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) and U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills). Moya’s expenditures since January have totaled $23,031.52. Top recipients went to consulting firms Red Horse Strategies, which received $8,125, Mirram, which received $6,000 and Ben Kalish, who received $2,000.

Two vie for empty Gianaris seat

Astoria attorney Jeremiah Frei-Pearson has dropped out of the race to replace state Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), leaving only two Democrats to face off in this year’s September primary.

Frei Pearson, a civil and children’s rights attorney, announced last weekend that he would not stay in the race because he did not want to engage in a “negative” campaign with his opponents, attorneys Aravella Simotas and John Ciafone.

Frei-Pearson had raised more than $116,000 since the beginning of the year, according to state campaign finance records. His campaign expenses were more than $12,000.

Gianaris is running to replace state Sen. George Onorato (D-Astoria), who will retire at the end of the year. He does not face any opponents but has raised more than $111,000 since January.

Simotas, who has been endorsed by the Queens County Democratic Party, will now run against Ciafone, a conservative Democrat who is also running as an independent in the Sept. 14 primary. There are currently no Republicans in the race.

According to campaign finance records, Simotas has raised more than $163,000 since the beginning of the year and has spent more than $60,000 on her bid. Simotas is a Manhattan-based attorney and a member of Community Board 1.

But there are currently no campaign finance contributions or expenses listed for Ciafone, an Astoria-based attorney and executive leader of Long Island City’s Aldos Democratic Club.

Markey vs. Nunziato

A Republican challenger has filed for the Maspeth Assembly district seat held by Democrat Margaret Markey. Republican Anthony Nunziato is running with the support of the Independence and Conservative parties. Since Jan. 1, Markey has raised $11,655, with her top donors being LawPac of Nassau, which has contributed $1,000, and Local Union No. 3, which has contributed $1,000.

Markey’s total expenditures are $6,212.87. Her biggest outlay was for a $1,484.44 fund-raiser at Euro Bistro in Maspeth. Nunziato has raised $15,950, with his top donor listed as the Friends of Marty Golden, who contributed $3,800. His total expenditures have been $2,278, including his biggest expense of $2,000 for a fund-raiser at Abbracciamento Restaurant in Middle Village.

Aubrey vs. Miranda

Democrat Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry (D-Corona), who also has the support of the Working Families Party, is facing a primary challenge from Anthony Miranda. Aubry has raised $72,101.00 and his largest donor is LawPac of New York with $6,100 and New York Laborer’s PAC State Fund with $3,400.00. His expenditures total $27,655.65. He biggest outlays have been for consulting firms Connective Strategies, on which he spent $7,067.01, and Berlin Rosen, on which he spent $7,854.

Miranda has raised $33,455.08, with his top contributors being Charles Duvall who gave $3,600, and Aljoma Corp,, which gave $2,000. His expenditures have been $15,291.32, including $2,500 on consulting firm Stoll, Glickman & Bellina and $2,254 on fund-raisers at Bruno’s on the Boulevard.

Nolan vs. Wilson

State Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Ridgewood), who also has the support of the Working Families Party, is facing Republican opponent John Wilson. Nolan has raised $41,340, with her largest contributions coming from Sheet Metal Workers LU 28 Political Action League, which donated $2,000, and Astoria Studios LTD Partnership II, which contributed $2,000. Her total expenditures have been $43,400.17, with her top destined for consulting firm Promotional Strategies at $19,381.78. Wilson has not filed his contributions and expenditures.

Miller vs. Comaianni and Caltabiano

Assemblyman Michael Miller (D-Woodhaven), who won a special election last year to replace corrupt former Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio, is being challenged on two fronts in his quest to win re-election.

Nick Comaianni – a member of Community Board 9 and Community Educational Council 24 – is running in the Democratic primary against Miller and Forest Park Senior Center Executive Director Donna Caltabiano is running as a Republican.

Miller has raised $26,655 this year and Caltabiano has raised $4,875. There are no fund-raising totals available yet for Comaianni.

Miller has spent $24,207 so far and Caltabiano had laid out $1,421in expenditures.

Pheffer vs. Paez

Also in western Queens, state Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer (D-Rockaway Beach) is facing Rockaway Republican Dr. Harold Paez.

Pheffer has raised $37,550 for her re-election while Paez, a vice president of the Rockaway Republicans, has raised $2,085.

The assemblywoman has spent $43,000 so far while Paez spent $895.

Updated 6:24 pm, October 10, 2011
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