September’s Democratic primary between state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and former city Comptroller John Liu will be for all the marbles since there will be no Republican contender in the general election.
For the first time in more than four decades, Queens Republicans have failed to amass enough petition signatures to get a candidate on the ballot in District 11, according to the city Board of Elections.
The GOP collected a mere 788 signatures for its candidate, Elio Forcina, far short of the 1,000 required to get on the ballot.
“It’s a huge disappointment to see the Queens Republican organization is just so incompetent that we can’t even get a candidate in a district in which Republicans can win,” said John Watch, the former president of the North East Queens Republican Club, who still serves on the group’s board. “It’s a joke.”
Of the signatures gathered in the district, only 545 were valid, the BOE said.
Timothy Furey had originally submitted petitions to run on the Republican ticket in what is considered one of the city’s more conservative districts, but decided to drop out of the race shortly after he filed.
Furey did not respond to requests for comment.
Forcina, an attorney who ran against state Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) in a 2010 primary as a conservative Democrat, was then substituted as Furey’s replacement on the doomed ticket.
“It’s a shame conservative and Republican voters are not going to have a choice in the general election,” Forcina said in an interview. “I believe neither John Liu nor Tony Avella reflect the values of this district.”
Former Republican state Sen. Frank Padavan represented the district, which includes Bayside, Whitestone, College Point, Bay Terrace, Douglaston, Hollis Hills and part of Flushing, for 38 years before he was knocked off by Avella in 2010.
Watch blamed this year’s poor showing on infighting, which has recently plagued the Queens Republican Party.
“It’s disgraceful,” he said. “It’s time for the state GOP to stop pretending there isn’t a problem in Queens and to step in and resolve it.”
Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@
©2014 Community News Group
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