PBA backs Padavan run to retain seat in Senate

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State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) picked up a key endorsement from the city Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association this week, while his challenger, former City Councilman Tony Avella, captured the support of the Freelancers Union.

The senator, who was first elected to the state Legislature in 1972, was given the nod by the benevolent association in front of Bayside’s 111th Precinct Monday, where supporters said Padavan was a strong advocate for law enforcement.

“The good he has done does not stop at the boundaries of the 11th [Senate] District and he has helped to make New York City a much safer place for everyone,” said Patrick Lynch, the association’s president and a Bayside resident.

The group represents an estimated 50,000 active and retired police officers and is one of the largest municipal unions in the nation.

Avella, who was elected in 2001 as councilman for northeast Queens and served two terms before running for mayor in 2009, was endorsed Aug. 11 by the Freelancers Union, which represents 90,000 freelancers, consultants, independent contractors, temps, part-timers and self-employed workers in New York state.

Padavan’s other endorsements include the New York League of Conservation Voters, the Detective Investigators Association of the City of New York, the Uniformed Stationmen’s Association, the Civil Service Employees Association and Teamsters Local 812.

Avella’s endorsements include Empire State Pride, UFCW Local 1500, the Educational Justice Political Action Committee and a number of Queens elected officials, such as Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), state Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) and former City Comptroller and mayoral candidate William Thompson.

The Senate race could be a bitter fight. Padavan narrowly defeated Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) in the Nov. 4, 2008, election after a prolonged recount. But Avella’s former district overlaps with that of the senator, giving him more name recognition in the northeast Queens communities he is vying to represent.

The district covers a number of Queens neighborhoods, including Bayside, Douglaston, Queens Village, Bellerose, Flushing, Whitestone, Little Neck, College Point, Hollis, Jamaica Estates, Glen Oaks and Floral Park.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 6:08 pm, October 10, 2011
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