Avella-Liu race could be good for...Republicans?
Jun 04, 2014 | 9268 views | 0 0 comments | 245 245 recommendations | email to a friend | print
We've been so preoccupied with the impending Democratic Primary for a northeast Queens State Senate seat pitting political heavyweights Tony Avella and John Liu against each other that we have failed to see the proverbial forest for the trees.

In other words, we've been short-sighted.

While going over all of the potential outcomes and ramifications of the primary, a Queens County GOP insider pointed out that we have totally overlooked the General Election that will follow, assuming that one of these two big names would just coast into the State Senate after winning the primary.

It's unlikely that any candidate the Republicans could put on the ballot would beat Avella if he gets past Liu. Avella's popularity isn't based necessarily on any affiliation with a political party, as his recent defection to the Independent Democratic Conference shows.

To win the seat in the first place, Avella had to beat Republican Frank Padavan, who held the seat for decades, so some longtime Republicans must have jumped party lines to vote for him.

On the other hand, if Liu wins the Republicans might be looking at a winnable scenario and reclaiming the seat. Avella's diehard base just might be upset enough at Liu for challenging Avella that they will get out to the polls to vote against him, if not necessarily voting for his opponent.

If you think that scenario is far fetched, just how do you think Republican Dan Halloran got elected to the City Council in a district where - like most of the city - most voters are registered Democrats? Democrats in the district didn't like their candidate, Kevin Kim, and saw Halloran as the lesser of two evils (although we're not sure if, in hindsight, that was necessarily true) and voted against their party affiliation.

If Liu were to win, that might play out again if the GOP can find a viable candidate. The insider we spoke with said that party leaders are already mobilizing for just such a scenario.

But even if Avella wins, with all of the newfound focus on the Working Families Party and its slow rise to respectability, there's also the possibility that Liu stays in the race on that line, creating a three-way race and two candidates that would split the Democratic base, another positive for the GOP.

It looks like we might just be watching this race past the September 9th Primary.
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