Saturday, July 24, 2010

Senators Addabbo & Huntley and Assemblymembers Miller & Clark Face Rivals by Howard Koplowitz -

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Titus Opponent Drops Out of Race - Smith Runs Unopposed

Election season has been heating up this summer in Queens as several political hopefuls announced their challenges against incumbents in the state Legislature.

The July filing with the state Campaign Finance Board revealed that state Assemblywoman Michelle Titus (D-Far Rockaway) and state Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) will be facing competition during this fall’s Democratic primary.

But political newcomer Okenfe Lebarty, who has been listed in the campaign finance database as Titus’ challenger for the 31st Assembly District, which includes Far Rockaway, Rosedale and parts of South Ozone Park, announced his departure from the race early Tuesday morning.

In an e-mail sent out to supporters, Lebarty, a West African immigrant who went to Far Rockaway High School and currently works as the executive director for the University Student Senate for the City University of New York, said his campaign finances had prevented him from continuing in the race.

He raised $3,385 for his campaign so far and spent $4,213, according to campaign finance records. Titus has collected $4,130 for her re-election and spent $3,188, records show.

“Due to lack of resources, we cannot maintain a vigorous and robust campaign, hence our path to victory will not be attainable,” Lebarty wrote in an e-mail.

Huntley, who was elected in 2007, has so far amassed $5,000 in contributions and spent $324 for her re-election bid for the 10th Senate District, which includes Jamaica, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and parts of Forest Hills.

Records show Lynn Nunes, who was six votes shy of defeating City Councilman Thomas White (D-South Ozone Park) during last year’s Democratic primary, has dwarfed the incumbent in both contributions and expenditures, campaign finance records show. The 25-year-old candidate has received $155,390 in contributions and spent $29,085 on his campaign so far, according to campaign finance records.

Nunes contributed the most to his run with a $10,000 donation to his campaign, according to the records.

Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans), the only one of Queens’ five-member Senate delegation who did not have an opponent listed on the campaign finance board website as of the July 15 filing deadline, has amassed $279,150 in contributions and spent $240,441 so far. The largest contribution came from David Rich, a Manhattan lobbyist for the Greater New York Hospital Association, records show.

Although Clyde Vanel has announced his run against Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village) in the 33rd Assembly District, which includes Queens Village, Cambria Heights and parts of Bellerose, he was not listed on the campaign finance database as of press time Tuesday. The Democratic challenger said he has filed with the campaign finance board and is still committed to his run for the Legislature.

Clark has so far raised $900 for her re-election campaign and spent $1,826 so far, records show. Vanel is listed on the city Board of Elections’ list of candidates who have amassed signatures to appear on the September ballot.

In southern Queens, state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) is facing a re-election challenge in the 15th Senate District from former Councilman Anthony Como, a Republican.

The district covers Ridgewood, Maspeth, Middle Village, Howard Beach, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and South Ozone Park.

Addabbo has raised $126,355 this year while Como has raised $17,657, according to campaign finance records.

The first-term senator has spent more than $70,000 and Como has spent more than $13,000.

Assemblyman Michael Miller (D-Woodhaven), who won a special election last year to replace disgraced former Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio, is being challenged on two fronts in his quest to win re-election.

Nick Comaianni, a member of Community Board 9 and Community Educational Council 24, is running in the Democratic primary against Miller and Forest Park Senior Center Executive Director Donna Caltabiano is running as a Republican.

Miller has raised $26,655 this year and Caltabiano has raised $4,875. There were no fund-raising totals available yet for Comaianni.