By Lynn Edmonds
City Council District 23 will elect their new representative on Tuesday; five months after former Councilman Mark Weprin vacated the seat to work for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
A heated Democratic primary election in September established party favorite Barry Grodenchik as the Democratic nominee, after he faced one of the most competitive races in the district for decades.
Now, Grodenchik is squaring off against Joe Concannon, a Republican and Conservative candidate who has campaigned on public safety and is a retired NYPD Captain and Air Force veteran.
Grodenchik, who has served as an Assemblyman and deputy Queens Borough President, has the party advantage, with the district historically voting Democrat.
But Concannon staff Liam McCabe thought the Republican might be able to change that pattern.
“A lot of people believe that this race is closing up, is getting tight. This is a race that we weren’t supposed to be competitive in; the stories are now running that we raised more money toward the end than our opponent,” he said. “We believe it’s going to be a ground game, it’s going to be a street fight, as we say in politics, and we’re going to be competing for every vote on the ground.”
In contrast, the Democratic candidate appeared more measured in speaking about his chances of success. Asked if he felt “confident,” Grodenchik said he felt “good.”
“We’re leaving nothing to chance. We’re getting a very good reaction at the doors and the people we talk to,” he said.
In total, Concannon has raised $28,489, and Grodenchik has raised $110,985, the Campaign Finance Board website says.
The Democratic candidate stressed his three decades in government as a selling point for voters. “I just think that my experience trumps my opponents,” Grodenchik said.
Because of his police background, the shooting death of Officer Randolph Holder last week galvanized Concannon, McCabe said.
“His resolve has never been stronger to get back on track,” McCabe said. “He can’t wait to get back to City Hall to honor the lives of his lost brothers and sisters.”
Grodenchik, who has the support of the Patrolman Benevolent Association, said that he, too, cared about the NYPD.
“I have worked with the police my entire professional life,” he said. “I will be working very closely with them.”
Rebecca Lynch, a former aid to Mayor Bill de Blasio who finished third in the Democratic primary behind Grodenchik and Glen Oaks civil leader Bob Friedrich, is still on the ballot as the Working Families Party nominee, but her campaign has not been active since the September primary. Under New York law, a candidate remains on the ballot unless he or she dies or is nominated for a judgeship.
The district includes Bellerose, Glen Oaks, Oakland Gardens, Hollis Hills, Jamaica Estates, Fresh Meadows and parts of Queens Village, Hollis, Little Neck, Douglaston and Bayside.
Reach Lynn Edmonds at (718) 357-7400 x127, email@example.com or @Ellinoamerikana