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Braunstein bests Tabone for Assembly

The increasingly bitter campaign for the northeast Queens state Assembly seat came to an end Tuesday night with Democrat Ed Braunstein’s victory over his Republican challenger Vince Tabone.

After receiving 58.5 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election, Braunstein will replace fellow Democratic Ann-Margaret Carrozza as the assemblyman, based on unofficial results with all precincts reporting early Wednesday morning, NY1 said. The district covers Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, College Point and Whitestone.

Tabone garnered 41.5 percent of votes, according to NY1, in his failed bid to succeed Carrozza, who announced earlier this year that she would not run for re-election to the seat she has held since 1996.

In other northeast Queens results, Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Bayside) was re-elected after he defeated Republican Timothy Furey and Bob Friedrich, ´╗┐who ran on the Conservative line after losing the Democratic primary to Weprin.

Weprin got 67.1 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting, according to NY1, while Furey received 23.6 percent and Friedrich pulled in 9.2 percent.

Tabone, who conceded to Braunstein late Tuesday night, said he will continue to serve the community despite losing the election.

“I’ve had a wonderful opportunity to serve the public in city and state government for almost 15 years and I’ve served the community,” said Tabone, a Bayside resident and attorney for John Catsimitidis’ Manhattan-based Red Apple Group with a long career of civic involvement. “For me it’s not the end of the world. I’ve had a wonderful opportunity to serve the community ... and I’m not going to go away.”

Braunstein, a former aide to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and current member of Community Board 11, said he will be getting straight to work now that he is headed to Albany on behalf of his native northeast Queens.

“I’m going to start on Jan. 1 working on the things I spoke about throughout the campaign,” Braunstein said during his victory speech at his campaign’s post-election celebration Tuesday night at Cascarino’s Brick Oven Pizzeria in Bayside. “We need to bring a new emphasis on ethics reforms in Albany, we need to create jobs in this down economy and we need to ensure northeast Queens remains the best place to live in New York state.”

Both candidates sent enthusiastic campaign teams to polling sites throughout northeast Queens, where they touted their qualifications for higher office.

Luigi Farina, a Whitestone resident, handed out campaign literature and spoke to voters about Tabone at PS 193 in his hometown, saying he was the best choice for the community.

“Vincent has a lot of experience. I think he’ll bring it to Albany,” he said. “He’s already worked for [former Mayor Rudy] Giuliani, and he’ll bring that experience to Albany.”

Adam Lombardi, a volunteer with Braunstein’s camp, used a megaphone, literature and conversations with voters to get voters to choose his candidate.

“Ed’s message is from the people, for the people, and that message has reverberated throughout the community,” he said. “The sentiment among the community about Ed Braunstein for assemblyman is simply outstanding.”

Ever since he announced his candidacy, Braunstein, 29, has campaigned on a platform of cutting spending, reforming Albany and protecting quality of life in northeast Queens, particularly for schoolchildren and seniors.

Tabone, 44, trumpeted his experience as a former employee in the city Economic Development Corp. as proof that he had the ability to reform the fiscal situation in Albany. He also argued that his longer period of experience in government and community advocacy made him the better candidate to represent the community.

Both candidates accused one another of being too entrenched in the system to be in a position to cast themselves as the outsiders they both claimed to be, and concerns about campaign donations from questionable donors arose on both sides of the campaign.

Weprin campaigned on his experience both in his two terms on the City Council, where he served as chairman of the Finance Committee, and his short tenure as an assemblyman since he was elected to that office in a special election in February. He said he plans to use his financial acumen to benefit the residents of Queens and New York state.

Weprin’s Assembly district covers Bellerose, Bayside, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens and Queens Village.

Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) and Assemblywomen Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and Nettie Mayersohn (D-Flushing), who were unopposed for re-election, retained their seats and are headed back to Albany.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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