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Huntley, Nunes pound pavement in Southeast Queens

With more than two weeks left before the Sept. 14 Democratic primary, state Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) and Lynn Nunes are strengthening their campaigns to get their voices heard.

Both candidates for the 10th Senate District, which covers southeast Queens neighborhoods such as Jamaica, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and parts of Forest Hills, made the rounds during the last week to get their messages across to voters.

The race between the incumbent and the 25-year-old real estate business owner has been heating up over the last couple of weeks with Nunes garnering support from various gay rights groups and supporters, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan).

Huntley was criticized for her vote against gay marriage in the Senate last year. The senator, endorsed by the Queens Democratic Party, has been working on her re-election bid with appearances at several events in the area.

On Saturday, she attended the rally outside the St. Albans Veterans Hospital, along with her Senate colleague Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans), and called on the federal government to stop delaying their plans for a more modernized facility. She also attended St. Luke Cathedral Family and Friends Day in Laurelton.

Her challenger did not attend those events, instead opting for a grassroots effort to get his name out. Nunes said he visited “hundreds” of homes in southeast Queens during the weekend.

“I did a door-to-door to get more contacts,” he said.

The efforts on both sides came days after one of Huntley’s campaign employees had to clarify his role in the race. Queens Tribune Associate Publisher Michael Nussbaum said his public relations and political consulting firm, Multi Media, was misrepresented by the state Campaign Finance Board when it said Huntley paid the group $30,000 for consulting work in the June filing.

“The majority of those fees was not for consulting. It was printing,” Nussbaum said.

Multi Media was also paid for campaign advertising jobs by Democratic candidates Edward Braunstein, who is running for state Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza’s (D-Bayside) seat, and Isaac Sasson, who is running against Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), according to campaign finance records. Last year, Nussbaum came under fire for his job as a political consultant to Democrat Kevin Kim during his bid for the City Council, which he lost to Dan Halloran.

The Tribune ran an article after the Democratic primary that exposed challenger Halloran’s pagan religious practices and the Republican candidate went on to win the general election that November.

Both Huntley and Nunes declined to comment about Multi Media’s role.

Nunes, however, questioned why the incumbent has not come out to hold a public discussion in front of voters. He appeared alone Monday during a taping for a candidates forum on Queens Public Television.

“I want to have a meaningful dialogue about issues [that have] affected the community,” Nunes said. “I think it’s the most appropriate forum doing it in front of the community, sitting side by side.”

A spokeswoman for Huntley’s office said the senator would not be participating in any debates for the primary.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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