By LOUIS FLORES
In recent weeks, there have been changes amongst the candidates seeking to challenge Queens incumbents for elected offices.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) announced on Thursday that he was suspending his campaign to seek the Democratic Party nomination for the 2017 New York City mayoral race.
"When I started this campaign five months ago I knew that I was facing an uphill battle if I wanted to topple an incumbent mayor with deep pockets. Though uphill, the battle was not impossible. If able to stay in this race the entire way I knew that with my resume, coupled with the incumbent’s disrespect, disregard, and disdain for the everyday New Yorker, my message could resonate with New York. Five months later, however, I have found that staying in this race without being beholden to dark money is becoming increasingly difficult. Therefore, it is with a somber heart that I announce that as of today I am officially suspending my campaign for Mayor of New York City," State Sen. Avella said, in relevant part, in a statement distributed to the press by his campaign office.
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City), the incumbent, faces a host of challengers, including former New York City Councilmember Sal Albanese and police reform advocate Robert Gangi, amongst others.
Separately, the Queens Republican County Committee announced their endorsement of real estate executive Paul Massey, Jr., in the GOP primary race for mayor, according to a report published by The New York Times. The endorsement by the Queens GOP of Mr. Massey, Jr., means that the insurgent candidacy of Bo Dietl, a former New York Police Department officer, has faced a potentially debilitating political setback. The County Committees of the four other boroughs have also declined to support Mr. Dietl's candidacy, according to a report published by The New York Daily News.
New York City Council District 30
New York City Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale) will be facing a challenger in this year's Democratic Party primary for her City Council district. Bob Holden, the president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, announced a campaign to challenge the incumbent over, amongst other issues, her stance on land use issues, specifically on housing development and the use of hotels as homeless shelters, according to a report published by NY1.
Growing groundswell against Queens incumbents
A recent wave of protests against State Sen. José Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) has signaled a resurgence of civic activism against career political incumbents, who citizens have charged have forsaken the will of their constituents. After State Sen. Peralta abandoned his affiliation with the mainline Democratic Party conference in the State legislature's upper chamber, many of his constituents expressed displeasure at a town hall last winter, and some community leaders are reportedly searching for a candidate to challenge State Sen. Peralta for the Democratic Party primary in the next State election cycle, according to sources. Other long-time Queens elected officials also reportedly face the possibility of primary challengers in their respective election cycles, according to information obtained by Progress Queens.