14 The QUEE NS Courier • september 19, 2013 for breaking news visit www.queenscourier.com ▶politics de Blasio, backed by Clintons, leads in polls BY CRISTABELLE TUMOLA email@example.com Days after Bill Thompson’s mayoral Vallone’s victory official BY MELISA CHAN firstname.lastname@example.org Paul Vallone can pop the champagne bottle — again. Final vote counts officially sealed the win for the Flushing attorney in a hard-fought and close Democratic primary race for City Council. “I couldn’t be any more excited,” said Vallone, 46. “It was a delayed week, but it was very exciting.” Vallone declared his victory on primary night last Tuesday, September 10, in a contentious race to replace scandal-scarred Councilmember Dan Halloran in the 19th District. But the announcement was seemingly premature, as runner-up candidate Austin Shafran trailed by 144 votes and refused to concede. With nearly 99 percent of precincts reporting, Vallone was leading his four opponents by about 31 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. He had 2,723 votes to Shafran’s 2,579. Vallone was declared the champion again after voting machines were checked and paper ballots were counted, a process that began late last week, his campaign said. He won by nearly 200 votes, according to preliminary results. “You had to be strong all the way through,” Vallone said. “I kind of always hoped the paper Paul Vallone Austin Shafran ballots would reflect what the primary night results did. It ended up even giving us a little boost.” His campaign manager, Austin Finan, said the gap between the two candidates narrowed to 134 votes last Friday after machines were recanvassed. Vallone then gained 59 more votes to secure his victory on September 16, when affidavits, absentee and emergency paper ballots were tallied, Finan said. While a spokesperson for the Board of Elections said the results could not yet be confirmed, Shafran said he would not contest them. “We gave it a try. We went up against the Vallone name, which is pretty big,” he said. “I’ve had better days, but you come to grips with it a little bit every day.” “At the end of the day, it’s under 200 votes total between the margin of victory. That’s like two votes per election district,” Shafran continued. “But whether you lost by one or 1,000, it doesn’t really matter in the long run.” The race also included third place finisher Paul Graziano with 1,539 votes, John Duane with 1,005 votes and Chrissy Voskerichian with 900 votes, according to unofficial results. Vallone — the son of former Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. and brother to Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. — will face off with Republican Dennis Saffran in the November general election. NOT OVER YET PARTY SWITCH TO RUN IN GENERAL ELECTION BY MAGIE HAYES email@example.com The race for the City Council District 27 seat is not yet over. Sondra Peeden ran in the Democratic primary only to come in last place out of six candidates, according to unofficial results. After the tallies came in, Peeden switched gears. The full-time candidate is continuing the race, but on the Independence line. “I was the underdog in this race,” she said of the primary election. “Once people get to know me and understand what I’ve been doing, they’ll like what it is I’m saying.” Peeden initially ran against frontrunner Daneek Miller, Clyde Vanel, Joan Flowers, Manuel Caughman and Greg Mays. She said she was at a disadvantage in the primary because she wasn’t as well-funded as her opponents were. She said she plans on working hard for the next six weeks to “level the playing field” before the November general election. Some of her former primary opponents will even stand with her to form a “unified front” in the race, she said. Peeden has over 20 years of experience in government and politics. She said in the back of her mind, she always knew she would run for office, but didn’t “promote” herself. In the Democratic primary, Peeden received 623 votes, or four percent, out of over 15,000 votes. Her likely opponent, Daneek Miller, is sitting at 24.4 percent with 3,756 votes. Vanel, who came in second, has not conceded and is waiting for all votes to be counted. Miller declared himself the next councilmember for the 27th District on election night, September 10, at his campaign headquarters. He did not return requests for comment regarding the general election. campaign came to an end, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced they have endorsed Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for mayor. Thompson, former city comptroller, announced Monday morning, September 16 that he was dropping his bid for the Democratic nomination, throwing his support behind primary winner de Blasio. “If this were a general election with consequences about the fundamental direction of our city, you can bet I’d fight until the very last vote. But Bill de Blasio and I want to move our city forward in the same direction. We share the fundamental same views and values. This is bigger than either one of us,” Thompson said at the announcement in front of City Hall. Though he said he still believes every vote should be counted, in reality, the time it would take to count those ballots would have made it impossible to campaign, and remaining in the race would have been a “disservice” to voters. Joining Thompson at the announcement were de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, who, according to reports, played a role in convincing him to step aside. Thompson’s exit, however, doesn’t mean there won’t be a mayoral runoff on the October 1 ballot. According to election law, Thompson had until midnight Friday to withdraw from the race. Since he didn’t quit before that deadline, the city will still need to include the two candidates in next month’s runoff if de Blasio doesn’t reach the 40 percent threshold needed after all votes are counted. De Blasio received 40.3 percent of the vote in the primary on Tuesday, September 10 and Thompson 26.2 percent, according to unofficial results. Thompson’s decision to withdraw from the race comes after the city’s Board of Elections (BOE) rechecked the primary results of lever voting machines. The BOE was set to start tallying a reported 78,000 paper ballots. Thompson, after meeting with key supporters, publicly stated he would remain in the race until every vote had been counted. That promise came after there was mounting pressure for him to drop his bid and as some former supporters endorsed de Blasio. The city’s Campaign Finance Board, anticipating a runoff wouldn’t be necessary, decided not to release runoff public matching funds to de Blasio and Thompson. De Blasio will now go on to face the winner of theRepublican primary, Joe Lhota, in the general election. Heading into that race, de Blasio not only picked up the support of Thompson and Cuomo on Monday, but on Tuesday, September 17, City Council Speaker and former mayoral candidate Christine Quinn also said she is endorsing him. Last week, de Blasio announced he had picked up endorsements from dozens of unions and elected, several of which were former backers of Thompson and Quinn, as well as the Working Families Party. De Blasio is also finding strong support among voters. The results of a Wall Street Journal/ NBC 4 New York/Marist poll released Tuesday, September 17, showed 65 percent of likely voters are for de Blasio and 22 percent for Lhota. Photo courtesy of Twitter/@deBlasioNYC Bill Thompson announced on September 16 that he is dropping out of the mayoral race and threw his support behind Bill de Blasio.
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