Liu secures narrow win over Avella

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John Liu, the former city comptroller, emerged victorious Thursday night in the Democratic primary, besting state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) in their second primary bout.

With 98 percent of the precincts reporting, Liu captured 52.9 percent of the votes, while Avella trailed with 47.1 percent, according to unofficial results from NY1.

Liu and Avella — a former member of the renegade Independent Democratic Conference member from 2014 to 2018 — previously went head-to-head in the 2014 primary, which Avella won by a narrow margin of 894 votes.

Earlier today, Liu greeted voters at polling sites within the 11th Senate District — which covers Bayside, College Point, Auburndale, Beechhurst, Whitestone, Bay Terrace and parts of Flushing, Douglaston, Little Neck and Glen Oaks. He exuded confidence on Election Day, believing his more progressive stance on issues could possibly turn the tide of votes in his favor.

“At this point it’s kind of like you studied for the exam and now you know, it’s in the hand of the guys upstairs,” said Liu. “I think people are upset about what is happening in this country. Trump getting into the White House has woken people up about the sad state of affairs in New York state, particularly with this IDC collusion with Republicans blocking the legislation that people in New York state want.”

Liu believes issues like women’s rights over their bodies is what gave him the edge in his victory.

“I think people care more about the issues — the big issue being a woman’s right to choose, which is one of the most important priorities to me,” Liu said.

Liu accused Avella of being a part of the obstruction of codifying the Reproductive Health Act even though for many years it has managed to pass through the Assembly.

“That is an issue that is driving people to make up their minds about my opponent,” said Liu.

Avella has fought for maintenance of city-owned trees, the preservation of the SHSAT, and the creation of more gifted and talented school programs. He has also pushed the city’s Department of Buildings to crack down on the amount of illegal conversions in properties throughout the city.

“I am very proud of the fact that in the last three years I have passed the most bills than any other Democratic senator,” said Avella, adding that he passed more than 90 bills in 2017. “In fact some of the Republicans were complaining that I was passing too many bills.”

Liu will take on Vickie Paladino, who defeated Simon Minching with 57.1 percent of the votes in the Republican primary — with 98 percent of the precincts reporting — in the Nov. 6 general election.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

Updated 11:04 pm, September 13, 2018
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Reader feedback

Paul leonardo from College Point says:
Liu,was accused back when he was running for mayor of wrong doing. He's a crook and should not be allowed to hold any office. Tony Avella has done so much for his people and is a honest man. This is a disgrace and will be so bad for the people in his district except the Asians!!
Sept. 13, 2018, 11:51 pm
Dwayne from Queens says:
The lesser of 2 evils. Both are proven corrupt bums. PS---Paul leonardo from College Point (above) seems to be among the widespread racist and discriminatory against asians found in bayside, college point, and whitestone. Typical hypocritical lib. #walkaway
Sept. 14, 2018, 3:49 am
Notgood from Queens says:
I'd rather have avella then this corrupt liu. I'm sure the Asian community was out yesterday to stand by their corrupt elected just the same way they did with Meng.
Sept. 14, 2018, 5:04 am
Dan from Fresh Meadows says:
I wish John Liu the best of luck and I feel that he will do a very good job. But I thought that Tony Avella was an outstanding and EFFECTIVE legislator who fought hard for commen sense legislation and fairness. I felt that he very much deserved to be reelected, and I have never met the man or had a conversation with him.
Sept. 14, 2018, 5:07 am
Bob from Glen Oaks says:
As president of the world's largest co-op apartments, I am disappointed with the result. Liu favors homeowners over apartments. Now I need to kiss Liu's ass to keep my power over my people. Its great being a dictator.
Sept. 14, 2018, 10:12 am
Conchita from Bay Terrace says:
I like John Liu, and, I believe he will do everything within his power to right the wrongs in the system--even if it means "opening a can of worms."
Sept. 14, 2018, 11:31 am
Mike from Queens, ny says:
I voted for Avella because he is hands on in the community and appears ethical. Liu's politics are much better, but appears to have had corruption problems in the past, and his ads were unacceptably misleading. As far as Liu getting the Asian vote, is that worse than voting for someone because she is a woman or Italian? Identity politics sucks all around.
Sept. 14, 2018, 12:34 pm
Jor from Bayside says:
Our only hope is Paladino . And that is a slim one since the Dems. have the machine.
Sept. 14, 2018, 12:45 pm
no real hope from queens says:
No real hope for State Senate. On one hand you have Liu who used straw donors when he ran for office back in 2009 plus he has a long list of crimes and fines. On the other hand you have Pallandino who has continually bashed the leaders of her own party. Both choices are not the best.
Sept. 14, 2018, 1:11 pm
JR from Bayside says:
I looked at LIU's website. Affordable housing, marijuana legalization, and LBGTQI rights, I dont see anything about plane noise. But I can now look forward to smelling marijuana as I pass by the projects to be built in my neighborhood.
Sept. 14, 2018, 1:19 pm
Tom M from Flushing says:
It's sickening that anti-Asian racism still exists in Flushing in 2018. Sorry guys but you can't go back to lilly white Flushing of 1968. I'm married for 22 yrs to a wonderful hard working Chinese-Malaysian woman and very proud of my blended family. (My Italian mother loved her like a daughter!) Life is too short for hate.
Sept. 14, 2018, 2:23 pm
EC from Flushing says:
May be the Asians are sick of being ignored and marginalized all the time by the established white politicians. May be it is identity politic, may be not. Liu was effective in the City Comptroller job, and there is no reason to believe that he will pay attention only to certain ethic group, like others. Hopefully he will be as effective as Avella on local and community issues.
Sept. 14, 2018, 10:25 pm
Chickie from Bayside says:
Vickie Paladino has a chance, the people have some hope. Professional politicians, desperately running for office (even after corruption scandals) need to go. We have term limits for a reason, do these guys think they'll outsmart the citizens by just leaving city government and trying to find a new gig in Albany? Let's have a new voice for northeast Queens. Enough with these corrupt politicians, Albany doesn't need us to send them another one.
Sept. 15, 2018, 12:02 am
JM from Oakland Gardens says:
John Liu is the better choice. I believe that he will represent all the people of the district. It's time for a younger generation of leaders who understand the changing New York City. Mr. Avella has a history of using veiled code words for anti-Asian and anti-immigrant policies. Maintaining the status quo was his way of signaling to his supporters that newcomers and their way of of life was not welcome. He and all of the community should remember that their parents and grand parents were considered unwelcome newcomers once too.
Sept. 15, 2018, 8:33 am
Cardinal from Whitestone says:
Paladino will be hurt by all the 3rd party candidates. Minching and Avella leeching votes on the conservative and independence line and Avella drawing women on the women’s equality line.
Sept. 15, 2018, 9:35 am
Joey from Bayside, NY says:
Now both candidates need to get out votes. Everyone is focused on prejudice, as if it's wrong for an Italian to vote for Vickie Paladino, or an Asian shouldn't vote for Liu. The rest of us just want someone who is not corrupt, hasn't a proven record of 'funny business' while in City government- this fellow shouldn't be sent to one of the most dysfunctional corrupt State governments in the nation. Party, race, sex shouldn't matter- how about an honest senator for a change?
Sept. 15, 2018, 10:13 am
Celtic from Bayside says:
Neither Liu or Avella have done/or will do anything about the onslaught of illegal aliens in our community, specifically those from Asia who set up shop with massage parlors fronting for prostitution. NE Queens is pretty much a red light district in 2018. Voting for any type of conservative will be better than Liu.
Sept. 15, 2018, 9:20 pm
better than supporting them from queens says:
For Celtic - the feds are responsible for letting every person over the border and the NY Senate cannot help that but the reason they let them work as prostitutes on every block in the fake massage parlors is if the arrest them they claim they were "trafficked" and then are eligible to stay in the US and collect every benefit known to man.
Sept. 16, 2018, 3:42 pm
Remedios from Fresh Meadows says:
As an immigrant, never will we allow John Liu just sweep under the rug,to jail 2 of his campaign finance stuff to be jailed while John Liu escaped jail on straw donors. Jennie Hou was 22 yrs old from Bronx Science and Oliver pan, were sacrificial lambs. FBI found email trails with Communist China donors that NY will "reciprocate" for their contributions to John Liu. No wonder the Falun Gulong were scared and attacked John Liu frontally. These are deadly or warning signs to alert all voters on Nov. 6. Dont send John Liu to Albany. Liu is a disgrace to the Asian immigrants. Tony Avella is our trust worthy and hardworking senator. Paladino is too greenhorn and no community outreach.
Oct. 30, 2018, 1:20 pm

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