BY DOMENICK RAFTER
Editor in Chief
Democrat S.J. Jung, Flushing resident and former President of the MinKwon Center for Community Action, announced this week that he would make another run for State Senate in the 16th Senate District, setting up for another primary challenge against longtime incumbent state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing).
“I enter this race as a reformer who refuses to accept politics as usual. I am determined to help our communities’ seniors and schools, small businesses, increase affordable housing, and much more,: Jung said in his announcement email. “But we must first clean up our house. Greater transparency, accountability, and integrity will only happen in Albany when we elect new leaders who have the conviction and courage to make real change. I will work in Albany for the people, not special interests.”
Jung ran for the seat in 2014, losing to Stavisky 58 percent to 42 percent. Before that, Jung, who is Korean American, ran for the City Council to replace former Comptroller John Liu in 2009. He gained the support of the Working Families Party and finished a close section behind Yen Chou. He remained on the ballot that November, receiving 4 percent of the vote as the Working Families nominee.
Stavisky has survived competitive primary challenges in her last three races. Besides Jung in 2014, she held back a challenge from John Messer in 2012, who also received 42 percent of the vote, and she fought off two challengers – Messer and Chemist and former City Council candidate Isaac Sasson – in the very competitive 2010 primary.
The district was redrawn in 2010 and has an Asian American plurality, and includes Chinese American enclaves in Downtown Flushing, Fresh Meadows and Elmhurst, as well as heavily Jewish American communities such as Rego Park, Oakland Gardens and Electchester/Pomonok.
Stavisky is expected to seek reelection for a ninth term. Several Democratic sources said she attended a fundraiser for her campaign last week. Stavisky was first elected to the State Senate in a 1999 special election to fill a seat vacated by her late husband, Leonard Stavisky.