Braunstein wins nomination in crowded Assembly primary

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Edward Braunstein, a former aide to state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), edged past three opponents Tuesday in the Democratic primary in the first step of the race to replace Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside), according to unofficial election results.

Braunstein, 29, who is also a member of Community Board 11, will now face Republican Vince Tabone, an attorney for John Catsimitidis’ Manhattan-based Red Apple Group, during the general election Nov. 2. The Democrat took 37 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

“We are going to focus now on the general election and beating Vince Tabone,” Braunstein said.

John Duane, a former assemblyman in the district and brother of state Sen. Tom Duane (D-Manhattan), came in second with 31 percent of the vote, while Steve Behar, a Bayside attorney who ran for Tony Avella’s former City Council seat last year, took third place with 18 percent of the vote.

Elio Forcina, a Whitestone attorney, came in fourth with 12 percent.

Duane threw his weight behind Braunstein at Sullivan’s on 41st Avenue in Bayside, where Braunstein’s camp celebrated their win Tuesday night.

Braunstein formerly worked at Silver’s Manhattan office in constituent services.

Carrozza, who was first elected to the Assembly in 1995, announced earlier this year that she did not plan to run for another term in office.

The district covers Bayside, Little Neck, College Point, Douglaston and Whitestone.

Poll workers in Bayside and Douglaston said more voters had turned out to vote than they had expected Tuesday morning. Voting at Bayside’s PS 158, on Oceania Street, had been slightly slower with only 45 people having voted as of 10:15 a.m., but workers at Bayside’s PS 41 on 35th Avenue said 102 residents had voted by 10:45 a.m.

Workers at Douglaston’s PS 98 on 235th Street said 95 people had voted as of 11:30 a.m.

Richard Albrecht of Bayside said he voted for Behar at PS 198.

“He is dedicated to this neighborhood and the other three guys are too much of the old school,” he said.

David Cooper cast his ballot for Duane at Bayside’s PS 41.

“He was previously in office, so he has experience,” he said of Duane. “He is a solid Democrat.”

Greg Dennard voted for Braunstein at the Le Havre Club on 9th Avenue in Whitestone.

“He seems like the most established candidate — the type of guy we need for Whitestone,” he said. “I’ve read about all the candidates online and they’re all very similar. But he seems to have it right. He has a lot of support and I think that would help us.”

One worker at PS 41 said he believed the key issue driving voters to the polls was “frustration” with the political system.

“They are voting out of frustration,” said the poll worker, who did not want to give his name. “People are being hit in their pocketbooks.”

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 6:20 pm, October 10, 2011
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