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Ackerman, Weiner prevail against Republican rivals

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Five Queens Democratic Congressional incumbents beat back challenges from Republican opponents Tuesday, securing the Democratic lock on the borough’s representation in the House as expected.

U.S. Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside), Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria), Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica), and Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) easily won their races in a political climate that has been hostile to other Democrats across the country.

With 73.5 percent of the vote counted early Wednesday morning, Ackerman received 66.3 percent of the vote, while his Republican opponent, Dr. James Milano, landed 32.9 percent, and Elizabeth Berney, who was on the ballot on the Tax Revolt Party line, got 0.8 percent of votes, according to unofficial election results released by NY1.

Crowley landed 78.7 percent, while GOP candidate Ken Reynolds received 20.1 percent and Green Party challenger Anthony Gronowicz garnered 1.2 percent with 79.3 percent of the votes counted, according to NY1.

Maloney received 75.2 percent of the vote, while her GOP challenger David Brumberg drew 21.3 percent, Independent Dino LaVerghetta got 2.03 percent and Conservative candidate Timothy Healy netted 1.4 percent, NY1 reported.

Meeks captured 84.3 percent, easily surpassing Asher Taub, his Republican opponent, who had 15.7 percent, with 74.8 percent of precincts counted, according to NY1.

With 315 of 512 precincts counted, Weiner had 58.5 percent of the vote, compared to Republican Bob Turner’s 41.5 percent.

“This was a brutally difficult year for Democrats nationwide,” Weiner said. “I welcomed the chance to have a real debate on the issues with Mr. Turner. This was a real debate on national issues here on a local state, and I didn’t flinch from that debate for one moment.”

Weiner, who was first elected to the 9th Congressional District in 1999, and Turner, a businessman who grew up in Woodhaven, sparred over a number of issues throughout the race, including campaign finances and the federal health care bill.

Weiner said he planned to work with the new Republican majority in the House.

“I’m committed to going back to Washington and working with Republicans whenever I can, but I’ll stand up and fight for the things I think are important,” Weiner said.

Ackerman’s win ensured the Rosyln Heights, L.I., resident will return to Washington for his 15th term representing the people of the 5th Congressional District.

An Ackerman spokesman did not return calls for comment.

Ackerman, 67, who was first elected in 1983, was slammed by Tea Party activists during a series of protests and disturbances at his public appearances for grievances including his vote for President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul.

But Ackerman said in April he did not believe the vote would preclude him from holding onto his seat, a prediction which proved true Tuesday.

Milano, 43, a fellow Roslyn Heights resident and emergency room physician at St. Francis Heart Hospital in Roslyn, L.I. and Berney a built bases of supporters throughout northeast Queens and western Nassau County as a result of conservative views including their opposition to health-care reform and their commitment to fiscal conservatism, but were unable to pull off an upset.

“I know he called [Ackerman] to congratulate him, I don’t know if he got through. There’s really not much to say, I guess the people spoke,” Milano spokesman Anthony Carollo said. “He’s going to go back and spend some time with his family and go back to his job at the hospital and take it day-by-day.”

Meeks said he will continue to work on behalf of his constituents.

“I am delighted to have the confidence of the people of southeast Queens to serve in the 112th United States Congress,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to working on your behalf on issues critical to the district.”

Ackerman’s district covers northeast Queens and neighboring areas of Nassau County. Weiner’s District covers Queens neighborhoods from Bayside to Maspeth, and parts of Brooklyn. Meeks’s district covers southeast Queens.

Maloney faced an acrimonious primary against Reshma Saujani, a lawyer who sent a barrage of negative mailings about her opponent. Maloney landed about 81 percent of the vote, while Saujani garnered approximately 19 percent.

Maloney’s district covers Astoria, Long Island City and parts of Manhattan. Crowley’s district covers parts of western Queens and the Bronx.

Updated 6:17 pm, October 10, 2011
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