Incumbent takes on former incumbent in competitive City Council race in Queens

CeFaan Kim Image
Monday, November 6, 2023
Incument takes on former incumbent in tight City Council race
CeFaan Kim has more on the race for City Council in Queens District 19.

COLLEGE POINT, Queens (WABC) -- One local race to watch on Election Day on Tuesday is for New York City Council District 19, which includes northeast Queens, including College Point, Whitestone and Bayside.

The incumbent, Vickie Paladino, is a Republican who won the seat in 2021 after beating Democrat Tony Avella by just a couple hundred votes.

Some might say the gloves have come off in northeast Queens, but that would imply the gloves were put on in the first place. The race for City Council District 19, the most competitive council race this year, is as bare knuckled as they get.

"I'm shocked that we have a white supremacist representing us," Avella said. "Clearly she is. Her whole staff has issues with postings with white supremacist groups. Her own son has been a member of the Proud Boys. We have a picture of her with the Proud Boys smiling and shaking hands."

Paladino also had choice words for her opponent on Monday.

"He's totally irrelevant to me," Paladino said. "Much as he's been irrelevant to this district when he was the City Councilman here. He was known as Do Nothing Tony."

Two years ago, Donald Trump-supporting Paladino beat Avella, the former Democratic state senator, and former councilmember who held the seat. But she bested him by only a couple hundred votes.

Now the incumbent is facing off against a former incumbent.

Almost half of the voters in the district are registered Democrats, yet the Republican candidates for mayor and governor trounced Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul in the last election there by double digit margins.

But the district is more moderate, so Avella is trying to make this a national race.

"She called members of the LGBT+ community degenerates," Avella said.

Paladino took a shot at his past work.

"If Tony was effective he'd be running on his past record wouldn't he?" Paladino said.

Paladino for her part is focusing on quality of life issues. She opted for a street repaving project to frame her message, instead of a campaign rally.

The only issue they seem to agree on is the migrant crisis. Avella didn't think a former Catholic school should be used as a respite center and Paladino helped shut it down. They say the location is far from services, jobs and mass transit.

ALSO READ | Everything to know about Election Day in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut

What you need to know ahead of Election Day on Tuesday.


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