NEW YORK—As the Sept. 9 primary elections draw closer, the contentious race for state senator between incumbent Tony Avella, and his Democrat challenger John Liu grows ever intense.
Liu, who is a former city comptroller, has repeatedly assailed Avella’s decision to break away from the mainline Democrats in the Senate to join the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), which shares majority control of the Senate together with Republicans.
Meanwhile, Avella has pointed out that Liu still owes the city over $500,000 in fines for illegally hanging campaign posters during his 2009 run for comptroller.
Liu’s two former campaign workers were also sent to prison last year for illegally funneling campaign donations through straw donors.
On Tuesday, Avella’s strategy on the campaign trail was to emphasize the funding he was able to secure for his constituents in northeast Queens due to his participation in the IDC.
At the College Point branch of the North Flushing Senior Center, Avella told seniors that he secured $100,000 each for three seniors centers (including the College Point center) in his Queens District 11, allowing them to stay open.
It was wonderful visiting some longtime friends at the College Point Senior Center today! pic.twitter.com/Tgebqk31Cd
— Tony Avella (@TonyAvella) September 2, 2014
The funding would not have come through if he hadn’t been in the budget negotiations with Republicans in the IDC, Avella told the Epoch Times.
“Today is about what I had to do to make sure seniors get what they need,” he said.
Asked what he feels about his prospects at the primaries next Tuesday, Avella said he felt confident that his constituents will support him. “People trust me to do the right thing,” he said.
Avella also announced on Tuesday that he had secured a grant for The Association for Neurologically Impaired and Brain Injured Children (ANIBIC) center in Queens, which will keep the nonprofit running, and also create new programs for the intellectually impaired.