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Uphill fight for Avella in 2009 mayoral run

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Avella has long planned a mayoral run and declared his intentions in mid-2006, but he has lagged in fund-raising behind more prominent likely rivals for the Democratic nomination.The Bayside councilman said fighting overdevelopment, a focus of his two Council terms, will be a core issue of his mayoral campaign. Avella said the city has failed to protect neighborhoods and preserve quality of life.He vowed to fight "the rampant overdevelopment that is ruining the character and charm of every neighborhood in the city," according to his campaign Web site, www.tonyavellaformayor.com.Other topics on Avella's agenda include reducing taxes and reforming education by reducing the emphasis on standardized tests.Avella will likely face stiff competition in a crowded race for the Democratic mayoral nomination. U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills), who came in second in the Democratic mayoral primary in 2005, has also declared his candidacy. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) and City Comptroller William Thompson, also a Democrat, are expected to run for mayor as well, although they have not officially declared their intentions.Avella has served on the City Council since 2002. He easily won re-election in 2003 and 2005, but term limits prevent him from running again in 2009.Avella admits to being an "underdog" in the crowded mayoral race, a status he attributed to his weak fund-raising. "It's not because I don't have the name recognition, it's not because I haven't worked on good issues. It's because of the money situation," he said.According to the most recent filings with the Campaign Finance Board, Avella's campaign has raised $180,940 - a fraction of Weiner's $3.6 million, Quinn's $2.5 million and Thompson's $4.2 million."Why do we look at a candidate only on the money that we raise?" he asked. Reach reporter Katy Gagnon by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

Updated 6:57 pm, October 10, 2011
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