We wrote here last week that there was a growing groundswell of support for Avella, who lost the Democratic Primary last month to John Liu, to continue to campaign for the general election in November.
Despite losing the primary, Avella will still be on the ballot next month on the Independence and Women's Equity party lines.
It's not unusual for a candidate to have their name on the ballot on several party lines. What is unusual is when a lifelong registered Democrat or Republican loses a primary and continues to campaign for the general election as a candidate for one of the lesser-known parties.
Generally, they just quietly fade away. Take for example Congressman Joseph Crowley, who lost in a spectacular primary upset to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but is not campaigning despite holding the Working Families Party line in the general election.
As for Avella, after he lost the primary there was an almost immediate response on the Facebook page of a Whitestone civic association urging him to continue to try and win the general election.
And two weekends ago, a group calling themselves Families for Tony Avella held a rally in Bowne Park urging him to continue to run.
But no one had actually heard from Avella...until now.
On Monday, Avella announced that he would campaign for reelection in November in a video he posted on Youtube and a statement he sent to the press. He cited the bipartisan support he has received since his September defeat.
“[Families for Tony Avella] and others from all political perspectives have asked me not to give up the fight but to continue to campaign for them,” the statement read. “No matter where I go in the district since the election, residents have expressed their serious concerns with the candidates that won the Democratic and Republican primaries.”
Avella said the people he has spoken to have expressed concerns over Republican candidate Vickie Paladino's lack of experience, as well as Liu's past issue with campaign finance scandals.
“After listening to my fellow residents I cannot simply walk away from the battles we have fought together to keep our quality of life and maintain the character of our neighborhoods,” the statement continued. “The battles we face every day, including overdevelopment, property taxes, airplane and helicopter noise, quality education, affordable health care and corruption in government are too important to hand over to either of these two primary winners.”
As we wrote last week, this is not good news for Liu. While it is true that Avella does enjoy a level of bipartisan support not generally enjoyed by other Democratic candidates, the majority of voters who migrate to the bottom of the ballot to vote for Avella will likely be registered Democrats.
While Avella's name on the ballot will siphon some Republican voters from Paladino, in the end it will likely benefit her, as Liu and Avella will be fighting for the same voters.
The question is if the predicted mid-term “Blue Wave” is a real thing, and if it is, if enough Democrats come out to the polls to give either Avella or Liu enough votes to best Paladino.
The Republican Party didn't support Paladino, opting instead to support challenger Simon Minching. In fact, Paladino was openly antagonistic with party leadership, causing a confrontation just before the primary at a Queens Village Republican Club meeting that required a police response.
But the Queens GOP has the best chance it has had in years to take back the seat that was held for decades by Republican Frank Padavan until Avella finally defeated him.
Let's see if they can put their petty intra-party squabbles aside long enough to help their candidate mount a credible campaign and pull of a huge upset.