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City Council candidates cash in as campaign heats up

City Council hopefuls John Duane (l.-r.), Matthew Silverstein and Paul Vallone are building campaign funds with hopes to unseat Republican Councilman Dan Halloran.
TimesLedger Newspapers

Challengers hoping to unseat City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) have filed disclosure statements with the city Campaign Finance Board, beginning the next chapter in a busy Democratic primary race.

According to the board, Democratic state committeeman Matthew Silverstein filed his disclosure statement earlier this week as did former state Assemblyman John Duane, who has also formed a committee to run for the office. Paul Vallone, another Council hopeful, also raked in a significant amount of funding by the Jan. 15 filing deadline with more than $25,000 coming from his campaign kick-off event last week.

As of Jan. 15, Silverstein was showing roughly $8,600 in private money raised, with many of his supporters coming from his own turf in Bay Terrace.

Silverstein has been hosting several events throughout the district, which covers Bayside, College Point, Auburndale, Whitestone and Little Neck. The Democratic state committeeman for the 26th Assembly District said he was focusing much of his efforts on veterans’ affairs, employment throughout the city and advocating for co-op and condo owners.

Duane, who served as an assemblyman during the 1980s, reported much more in monetary contributions with $35,270, according to the board. Many of his largest contributions have come from residents of northeast Queens in Bayside and Flushing.

The attorney and former assemblyman is also the brother of former Manhattan state Sen. Tom Duane, who served as an openly gay and openly HIV-positive member. In 2010, John Duane finished second in the race for the seat currently held by Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside).

Meanwhile, Vallone has raised a similar amount in funds, recording roughly $35,000 in contributions by Jan. 15. Vallone, a brother of Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) and son of former Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr., ran in a Democratic primary for Halloran’s 19th District seat in 2009.

This time around, the Community Board 7 member said he would run on many of the same issues he campaigned on in 2009, including quality-of-life issues and finding a balance between addressing overdevelopment in northeast Queens while preserving the region’s character.

Also rumored to be interested in entering the race is Austin Shafran, who works for the state’s economic development agency, Empire State Development, as a vice president of public affairs. But as of press time, no campaign disclosure statements were filed under his name.

Last year, Halloran spent months campaigning hard for the 6th Congressional District representing communities throughout northeast Queens, but lost in November’s election to Assemblywoman Grace Meng.

He will defend his Council seat in November.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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