Correction: Eugene Noh does not work as campaign advisor for O’Leary. O’Leary also did not hire Won’s team of field operators in his run for AD37.
The 2022 Democratic primary elections are right around the corner. On June 28, voters in Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Maspeth, and Ridgewood, will head to the polls to cast their ballots for one of four political newcomers in the race for Assembly District 37.
Only one will win the chance to claim the Assembly District seat, previously occupied by outgoing Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, which has been up for grabs since February. This election day, voters will have the opportunity to choose from one of four candidates in the running for the State Assembly.
Brent O’Leary has an impressive resume as a civic leader with several years of experience. As a moderate, O’Leary is running on a platform that aims to increase community policing, maintain Mayoral control of city schools, and create a system that would promote homeownership over more traditional forms of affordable housing.
He previously lost his bid for office in the 2021 primary elections to Julie Won, finishing third among 15 candidates running for the New York City Council seat formerly occupied by Jimmy Van Bramer.
Brent has done a great deal of civic work for his community, but his current stance on increasing police enforcement contrasts with previous statements made during the 2021 election, where he openly stood in favor of cuts to the police budget, focusing resources instead on the community through affordable housing, education, health care, youth, and employment services.
Johanna Carmona, a young attorney who previously served as a Hispanic community liaison for Nolan, says she is running to help give her community more substantive representation in Albany. Carmona is also running a more moderate-leaning campaign platform focused on public safety, education, and affordable housing.
While she has been very accessible throughout the campaign, there is some concern that she could look to emulate some of the machine-aligned politicians who’ve endorsed her, including Nolan herself, who has been inaccessible low these past 5-6 years.
Jim Magee, a defense attorney who previously helped manage the campaign for Patrick O’Malley against Nolan in 2000, is running with the primary goal of revising the 2019 bail reform legislation. He also hopes to address wealth disparity and public transportation in the district.
Standing firm on his campaign goals to make it more difficult for violent offenders to get off bail, Magee is running a more conservative-leaning campaign than the other three candidates and runs the risk of facing an uphill battle when it comes to negotiating with members of the Democratic-led State Legislature.
Juan Ardila is a young community advocate whose experience working with The Legal Aid Society and the Department of Education, has given him the foresight to help local constituents and the wherewithal to effectively delegate the expansion of universal Pre-K programs.
As the more progressive-leaning candidate of the four, Ardila is running a platform that focuses on housing, climate, and healthcare. He is also in favor of legalizing accessory dwelling units and is a supporter of the proposed “good cause eviction” bill.
Ardila previously came up just short of unseating incumbent City Councilman Robert Holden in the 2021 Democratic primary. Obtaining 45 percent of the vote, he fell just 926 votes short of victory.
Although his campaign falls far left of the other three candidates, the fact that he says he won’t align with the Democratic Socialists of America and has stated his intentions to work with both sides of the aisle, in our eyes, makes him a more viable candidate in the Assembly race.
Based on the aforementioned reasons and the fact that his goals align with much of the voting populace in the district, our news organization endorses Ardila as the Democratic nominee in the race.
Unlike his opponents, Ardila said he wants to address the spike in violent crimes at the root of the problem by funding more programs for youth. He also has taken a stance on the local impact of air pollution, and the creation of a single-payer health care system statewide, bridging the unaffordability gaps that plague so many low and middle-income families in the district.
We feel that if elected Ardila will do his personal best to try and protect the community, remain accessible to constituents, and pass/write sensible legislation in concert with the concerns of his district up in Albany.