As the race for Borough President heats up with more prospective candidates testing the waters, one stellar civic leader anxiously awaits an opening to represent New York’s 11th Senate District should the right pieces fall into place.
It is widely rumored incumbent Senator Tony Avella will be throwing his hat in the ring for Borough President. Should Avella become the next Beep, a special election will be held where community advocate Steve Behar will have a chance to take his place in Albany.
Behar, a progressive reformer who ran unsuccessfully for City Council and State Assembly, has been quietly building a coalition of community and civic leaders, which are already expressing encouragement.
Alfredo Centola, President of the Malba Gardens Civic Association agrees Behar would be the right choice for the district. “Steve would be phenomenally excellent and he would take into account all the needs of the community and he would listen to all the different parts of the community and work with everyone” said Centola. “He’s straightforward and he’s genuine, which is rare.”
Democratic District Leader Martha Flores Vazquez also expressed support. “Steve appears to be a gentleman with an open mind; his law experience may benefit the community in the state legislature.”
In what will be a hotly contested race pitting Avella against other campaign heavyweights like City Councilman Peter Vallone and Leroy Comrie, Lobbyist Melinda Katz, and Senator Jose Peralta, despite the strong opposition Avella is said to be mulling a chance to stand out from the crowd to gain a foothold in boro-wide politics for another shot at Mayor in 2017.
in the meantime, Behar, a member of Community Board 11, has been busy honing his campaign skills delivering victory after victory for the Democratic Party. Recently he served as field director for Nassau County Legislator Carrie Solages, campaign manager for Senator-elect James Sanders, as well as spearheading the legal team for Congresswoman-elect Grace Meng.
Should the pieces fall into place, a special election will likely take place in February to fill the vacancy. The County organization will have the choice to endorse Behar in the special or risk losing his large base (who will likely stay home in protest) and give rise to Senator Halloran – a frightening prospect for the Democratic County organization considering Republican Senator Frank Padavan represented the district for over 30 years.