Deal isn't cooling down one race
Jul 09, 2014 | 13036 views | 0 0 comments | 313 313 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The new agreement brokered by Governor Andrew Cuomo to bring the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) back into the Democratic fold in the State Senate may have eased tensions in Albany, but it doesn't mean that the race between John Liu and State Senator Tony Avella in northeast Queens is cooling down.

Liu continues to campaign as hard as he ever has – which means a full schedule of public appearances as well as constant fundraising and racking up endorsements. He got another big one this week, when Borough President Melinda Katz threw her support behind Liu.

“In the State Senate, John will be a champion for the working families of Queens – and that's exactly the change we need,” said Katz in a statement.

Despite the fact that the IDC's five state senators – of which Avella is one – have decided to abandon their power-sharing agreement with the Republicans, the Queens Democratic Party is not giving up its bid to unseat Avella, who has often clashed with party leaders even before he joined the renegade faction in the State Senate.

So, for the next ten weeks or so it looks like we are going to have a contentious race leading up to the Democratic Primary in September. And it's getting increasingly chippy.

Following news of the IDC's decision to caucus with the Democrats, the Liu campaign sent out a statement calling on Avella to pledge not to rejoin the Republicans if the Democrats fail to win an outright majority this fall. Here's the statement from a Liu spokesperson:

“We know that Tony Avella will say or do just about anything to stay in office, hoping no one notices that he’s one of the most ineffective legislators in Albany. We also know that Senator Avella abandoned the Democrats who elected him once, and now he won’t say if he will join forces with the Republicans again if they gain seats this year. The question to Tony Avella is simple: Will you pledge not to caucus with Republicans again if the Democrats don’t win a majority this fall? The people of the 11th District have a right to know if their Senator will stand up for Democratic values or keep making backroom deals with Republicans that sell out his constituents,” said Liu spokesperson James Freedland.

The Avella campaign immediately pounced on the challenge by issuing a statement inferring that Liu had already conceded defeat in the race. Enjoy:

While we're glad that our opponent's campaign acknowledges that come the new legislative year Senator Avella will be in office, one would think that our opponent would be focused on his own struggling bid. Given disgraced candidate John Liu's slew of federal criminal investigations, staffers taking the fall, unpaid campaign finance violations totaling over $500,000, and culture of corruption, Mr. Liu might want to look in the mirror before questioning Tony Avella's record of integrity.

The people of the 11th District deserve a Senator who holds himself to a higher standard - one that Senator Tony Avella has always met. Come November, Senator Avella looks forward to an IDC-Democratic Coalition to enact progressive reform, not to back down from a primary fight. If Mr. Liu is looking for a reason to get out of the this race, he's going to have to admit the real challenge: he no longer has a reason to run.

We can't wait for the debates!

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