Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Working Family Party Hopes To Make History In Nonpartisan Council Specials by Elizabeth Benjamin - The Daily Politics - NY Daily News

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The Working Families Party and its labor affiliates are putting their respective GOTV machines to work today on behalf of candidates running in two of the three City Council special elections who will make history if they pull off victories.

In the 49th CD, the WFP, ACORN, SEUI 1199, 32BJ, and the HTC are working on behalf of Debi Rose, a Community Board 1 member and executive director of the Liberty Partnership Program at the College of Staten Island who narrowly lost a primary to the man whose seat she's now seeking, Rep. Mike McMahon, in 2001.

If she wins, Rose be the first African American to represent the borough in elected office.

The 49th CD race is shaping up to be a close one, and is further complicated by the fact that the voting is being done on paper ballots due to a last-minute court decision that returned John Tabacco to the ballot.

Also in the running are McMahon's former chief of staff, Ken Mitchell; the Rev. Dr. Tony Baker, Donald Pagano and Paul Saryian.

In the 21st CD, organized labor is working on behalf of Julissa Ferreras, who is running for the seat her former boss, Hiram Monserrate, vacated when he was elected to the state Senate last November. If elected, she'll be the first Latina from Queens on the Council.

Ferreras is facing off against Francisco Moya, a former aide to Gov. David Paterson (when he was Senate minority leader), who has stayed out of this contest. Moya also counts amond his endorsements Citizens Union, and his former boss Rep. Nydia Velazquez.

Also on the ballot in the 21st are Jose Eduardo Giraldo and George Dixon.

The WFP and its labor allies have knocked on more than 40,000 doors for Rose and Ferreras, according to party spokesman Dan Levitan. The WFP is staffing Ferreras' entire campaign and lent four organizers to Rose's operation.

Neither of the WFP candidates appear on the party's line (Row E) due to the nonpartisan nature of the special elections.

The WFP took a pass on the 32nd CD race, most likely due to the fact that the candidate it would have supported, Frank Gulluscio, was booted from the ballot. Gulluscio is a former aide to Joe Addabbo, who vacated the Council seat when he was elected to the Senate.

Gulluscio's departure was caused by the aggressive challenges to his petitions by allies of his opponent, Geraldine Chapey, who is being represented by former Sen. Marty Connor. His loss was a boon for Eric Ulrich, who Republicans see as their best hope for gaining back a third seat on the Council.

Also in the running are: Lew Simon and Mike Ricatto, whose campaign was dealt a blow when a campaign bus driver struck and killed a 9-year-old boy.