Incumbents, challengers gear up for general elections

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Primary Day has come and gone. In Queens, there were only three primaries. In southeast Queens, the 10th State Senate District contest was between incumbent state Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) and challenger former City Councilman Allan Jennings.

It was a given that Huntley would win, due mainly to Jennings' controversial behavior in some publicized incidents during his term.

Congratulations to Grace Meng on winning the 22nd State Assembly District in Flushing. Meng defeated incumbent state Assemblywoman Ellen Young (D-Flushing).

While I have known, liked and respected both women for years, it was evident Meng was better organized and ran a more effective campaign. The truth was evident in the results.

We ended the evening at Meng's victory party at the East Buffet in Flushing. It was great and they said they expected about 1,000 people to show up. When we were there, it was late and the place was still packed.

Some of the attendees were Julia Harrison, James Trikas, Terence Park and Jimmy Meng, Grace's father, who had held the seat for one term before Young was elected this past term.

Grace's husband, Wayne Kye, and their baby son, Tyler, were present. Tyler was as good as gold the entire evening. Tyler is the new Asian face of Queens. The two prominent Asian groups are Chinese and Korean. Tyler's mother is Chinese and his father Korean.

That mix probably qualifies Tyler as the perfect candidate for goodwill ambassador between the two groups, who have had differences in the past. Again, congratulations Grace.

Prior to our visit to Grace's party, we stopped by the Palace Diner where Robert Schwartz was holding his event. Schwartz lost to incumbent state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) for the 16th State Senate District seat.

Stavisky won by 65 percent; Schwartz received 34 percent. Congratulations, Toby, on a job well done. Stavisky has never had an opponent. This time she had two. With the primary over, the campaign is now a one-on-one race between Democrat Stavisky and Republican Koo, who will face off Nov. 4.

Speaking of the Schwartz race, he paid me $2,500 to shoot all the photos he used on his campaign literature. I was told by the TimesLedger editors that I should have disclosed to my readers that fact, so I am now doing this. Also included in the fee were many photos for his personal use for both himself and his family.

On the Schwartz financial disclosure sheet, the first filing listed me as a petition gatherer, which I was not. They amended that on the second filing to a campaign consultant, which I was, and this entailed my taking photos for his campaign literature.

The reason for this disclosure is to avoid the appearance of bias in my coverage. As one of the most sought-after photographers in Queens, I thought nothing of it.

But if anyone was offended by the fact that I was paid to take the photos for Schwartz, I do indeed apologize.

It is too bad he lost. He had a lot to offer. I am sure he has been bitten by the political bug and we definitely have not heard the last of him. Good luck, Robert, in whatever you do next. Keep us posted.

There were no Republican primaries in Queens this year.

Friday night, Peter Koo, the Republican candidate for Stavisky's seat, held a birthday party for himself on the fourth floor art gallery of Michael Lee's new Queens Crossing building on Main Street in Flushing, across from St. George's Church.

Anyone who was anyone in the Asian or white communities turned out to wish Peter happy birthday and success.

State Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), who has replaced state Sen. Joseph Bruno as the state's No. 1 Republican, came to the party to wish Peter happy birthday and good luck. He also informed the crowd that the state and local GOP is 100 percent behind Peter and pledged to do its utmost to help get him elected.

As of now, state Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio (D-Richmond Hill), who has held his seat for 30 years, was charged last week with selling his services as a legislator in a scheme said to have netted him more than $500,000. As we receive them, more details to follow next week.

Last Saturday, state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) had the grand opening of his Bayside campaign headquarters on Bell Boulevard. The place was packed with volunteers and supporters. Good luck, Senator.

I like receiving your voice mail at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at

Posted 6:38 pm, October 10, 2011
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