BY JAMES FARRELL
Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) will serve another four years in Queens’ 19th City Council district.
The incumbent councilman collected 57.5 percent of the vote, amounting to 14,284 votes, according to numbers cited by NY1. His Republican challenger, Konstantinos Poulidis collected 6,121 votes for 24.6 percent and Reform Party challenger Paul Graziano collected 4,457 for 17.9 percent.
“This truly was a community win,” Vallone said at his victory party at Bourbon Street in Bayside. “Everywhere I looked today, there were leaders that just embraced this campaign and helped us from day one to make today possible.”
When asked if there was any particular item that he was hoping to take on for his second term, Vallone laughed and replied, “Tomorrow.”
“I think kind of finishing what we started because this district really needed so much attention that in four years, it really wasn’t enough,” he added.
Flanked by his father, former City Council speaker Peter Vallone Sr., and supporter Chuck Apelian, Vallone told a crowd of supporters that his campaign was about unity.
“We don’t want negativity, we don’t want divisiveness, we want a united community: Democrat, Republican, everyone saying, ‘This is our home and this is our family.’”
Despite the third place finish, Graziano’s campaign had been much more active than Poulidis’. Graziano, a city planner and activist who has run for elected office before, originally ran in the primary as a Democrat against Vallone. He collected 46 percent of the vote in the primary—closer to winning than any other challenger in the city in a two-way race against an incumbent.
Graziano said that he believes that the results of both the primary and his showing as a third-party candidate demonstrate that he has a sizable base in the district and added that he is “seriously considering” running again in four years.
He believesthat he suffered from not belonging to a major party, and that voters likely voted strictly according to their party affiliations.
“Getting almost 20 percent of the vote on the third party line shows that I have a significant base of support that transcends party lines,” he said. “I’m disappointed that people voted down party lines, but it certainly isn’t going to stop me from running in four years.”
Graziano argued that he ran his campaign “the right way” by raising his money with grassroots donors. His only regret is not having the funds to pursue a lawsuit against Vallone, which he initially filed and then withdrew, alleging that the councilman’s petition signatures were illegally collected.
When asked if he had a message to Vallone, he said: “Being ranked last in constituent services and bills enacted, he has nowhere to go but up, so I really hope he takes this opportunity to actually represent the interests of this important community.”
Poulidis said that, considering he is a Queens College student who couldn’t devote his full efforts to running, “25 percent, I think, is great.”
“I just think that it’s good just to let him know that there are people who are voting Republican, and that maybe for the next election, hopefully, we can have a good shot, even if it’s not me running,” he said.
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, email@example.com or @farrellj329.