Graziano endorses Vallone opponent
Oct 24, 2013 | 2369 views | 0 0 comments | 73 73 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Paul Vallone certainly didn't make many friends among his fellow candidates in the Democratic Primary for the 19th Council District in northeast Queens, but he was willing to try.

“We look forward to uniting the Democratic Party and winning in November,” said Vallone campaign spokesman Austin Finan following the victory.

But only one – John Duane – has come out in support of Vallone following his primary victory over Duane, Paul Graziano, Chrissy Voskerichian, and Austin Shafran.

Contrast that to the strong endorsements Bill de Blasio got from Christine Quinn and Bill Thompson, once he conceded the election to de Blasio. Those three were also locked in a sometimes-bitter race, but once the votes were counted the Democrats came out and endorsed the only Democrat left in the race.

Shafran lost a close election to Vallone, whose victory hinged on a ballot recount. Like Thompson, Shafran eventually conceded, but he most certainly did not endorse Vallone for the seat.

And just last week, Graziano did Shafran one better, crossing party lines to endorse Republican Dennis Saffran, who will be challenging Vallone in November.

“Paul Vallone has had no interest or experience taking care of the issues that affect our neighborhoods, as was proven during the Primary campaign when he refused to answer even simple questions from the public at the debates that were held - and didn't even bother to show up to the one debate focused on overdevelopment issues of our council district,” read a statement from Graziano announcing his endorsement of Saffran.

A lot of the lingering animosity likely – or rather, most certainly – stems from a series of highly negative mailers targeting Vallone's opponents sent by Jobs for New York, a political action committee created by the Real Estate Board of New York. Technically, the negative mail wasn't sent or paid for by Vallone, but he also refused to denounce the mailings when pressed to by his opponents.

Graziano, who finished a strong third, was particularly attacked in the series of mailings, which attempted to brand him as a racist. Graziano alluded to the mailings while endorsing Saffran.

“His unbelievably offensive, slanderous and negative mailings and personal attacks, which focused on character assassination of his opponents and used religious bigotry in an attempt to get Catholic parishioners to vote for him, coupled with his overwhelming funding from the real estate industry and other special interest groups, clearly show that if he is elected to the City Council, Paul Vallone will not represent the interests of the residents of our neighborhoods, only those of the real estate industry and clients of his family's lobbying firm,” Graziano said.

But tell us how you really feel Paul!

Clearly, the campaign left some bitter feelings among the candidates, but did it also with voters? The 19th District is fairly conservative, and while maybe not as much as say Ulrich's district in south Queens or some portions of Glendale and Maspeth, has been known to elect Republicans from time to time, and the headquarters of the Queens County Republican Party is in Bayside.

People who follow northeast Queens politics believe that the current councilman, Republican Dan Halloran, wasn't so much elected on his own merits, but because the Democratic candidate, Kevin Kim, was so unpopular with voters in his own party that many crossed lines and pulled the lever for Halloran.

We'll soon know if the Vallone campaign had the same effect on voters, and if Saffran can capitalize on that.

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