Cheliotis holds fund-raising lead in council race

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Out of the six candidates vying for City Councilman Mike Abel’s (R-Bayside) seat this fall one has become the pacesetter when it comes to fund-raising.

Labor leader Arthur Cheliotis, who recently moved to the northeast Queens council district and is one of five Democrats running for the position, has raised about $126,000 for the race.

Cheliotis holds a commanding fund-raising lead over his competitors, according to the latest city Campaign Finance Board filings, including community activist Tony Avella, who has raised $87,400; political newcomer John Frank, who has nearly $30,000 in contributions; civic leader Jerry Iannece, who has a $34,300 war chest; and activist Joyce Shepard, who has collected $36,500 for the race. Republican candidate Dennis Saffran has raised about $42,000 for the contest, according to the Campaign Finance Board.

Abel, one of three Queens Republicans in the City Council, has been in office for nearly 10 years and is prohibited from seeking a third term under the city’s 1993 term limits law. Abel announced his candidacy in the borough president’s race in November 1999 but dropped out of the race earlier this year.

The 19th CD covers parts of northeast Queens and includes the communities of Bayside, Bay Terrace, Whitestone, College Point, Malba, Douglas Manor, Beechhurst, and parts of Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Linden Hill, and Murray Hill.

Cheliotis, who lives in Bay Terrace and is a member of Community Board 7 in Flushing, raised his money with the help of 385 contributors, the Campaign Finance Board said. The labor leader has also spent the most money in the race, the city agency said, with the Campaign Finance Board listing his expenditures at slightly more than $109,000.

Avella, a College Point activist who previously worked on the staff of state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing), has collected his funds from 466 donors, the filings showed. Avella has also spent about $34,300, according to the Campaign Finance Board.

Political neophyte and Bayside resident John Frank, who joined several community groups in the last two years before announcing his run for the Council, has 139 contributors and has spent $7,000 in the race so far, the Campaign Finance Board said.

Bayside Hills Civic Association President Jerry Iannece, who is also a longtime member of CB 11 in Bayside, has gathered his campaign money from 180 contributors and spent about $14,000 in the contest, according to his filings.

Shepard, a Bay Terrace resident and the only woman in the race, has 201 donors to her campaign, the city filings revealed. Campaign Finance Board filings show Shepard has spent more than $31,000 in the race.

Republican Dennis Saffran, who has 242 contributors backing his bid for the Council, has also spent nearly $20,000 on the race, the Campaign Finance Board said.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

Posted 7:16 pm, October 10, 2011
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