To say John Liu has hit the ground running would be an understatement.
Since he launched his campaign to unseat state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) last week, the former city comptroller has already marched in three parades, attended a flurry of events and amassed three union endorsements.
A tireless campaigner, Liu never really slowed down after he tumbled out of the Democratic mayoral primary in fourth place last fall. He continued to attend public events at a frenetic pace in addition to his part-time job, teaching municipal finance, at Baruch College.
So his announcement to challenge Avella came as no surprise.
“This community is a bedrock of New York and the people here rightfully demand and deserve effective, results-oriented representation,” he told reporters surrounded by supporters at his campaign kick-off, which he held a few blocks from Avella’s district office in Bayside last Friday.
“As state senator, I’ll be a fighter who will day in and day out pursue legislation, funding and initiatives to better our community here in northeast Queens,” he added.
Liu won an endorsement from the city’s largest grocery workers union, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Tuesday afternoon. Before that he had received endorsements from the Hotel Trades Council and the Coalition of Operating Engineers.
Although congressional Democrats and Democratic Party leaders were not at his kick-off event, Liu will be running with full support from the Queens Democratic Party, which nominated him as its candidate to challenge Avella in a September primary.
The incumbent, who has not faced a primary in his two terms, angered Democratic leadership when he joined the Independent Democratic Conference in February. The IDC controls the Senate in a power-sharing agreement with Republicans.
At his kick-off, Liu ripped the IDC for working with Republicans, whom he blamed for inertia on initiatives such as the Women’s Equality Act, a hike in the minimum wage and campaign finance reform.
“There are a number of issues the Republican-led body has not allowed to come to the floor, even though I believe the people of the state of New York want these measures enacted,” he said.
Avella appeared on NY1’s “Inside City Hall” Tuesday night to criticize Liu’s bid.
“I think it’s unfortunate that the Democratic Party bosses are trying to disenfranchise the candidate this district has elected time and time again,” he said.
Avella said he plans to raise more than $100,000 to take on Liu, who has been a voracious fund-raiser in past campaigns.
“I’m raising money now, we have commitments to $100,000 by the next filing. I’ll raise whatever’s necessary, but I don’t spend all day on the phone raising money because that’s not my job,” he said on NY1.
The Democratic State Senate Committee donated more than $200,000 to Avella’s 2010 campaign, when he unseated long-serving Republican Frank Padavan.
For this election cycle, he will have the fund-raising support of the IDC, which has also proven very adept at raising cash.
Avella’s campaign staff said the two-term senator will officially launch his own campaign in the near future.
The district, which is 33 percent Asian, covers Bayside, Whitestone, College Point, Bay Terrace, Douglaston, Hollis Hills and part of Flushing.
Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@
©2014 Community News Group
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