Ron Kim squeaks by opponent to win primary

New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim pulled it off. The incumbent in the race for the 40th State Assembly District, which encompasses Flushing, College Point, Whitestone, and Murray Hill communities, won the primary election on June 28, defeating political hopeful Kenneth Chiu by a small six percent margin—receiving only 221 votes more than his opponent according to unofficial tallies from the State Board of Elections.

“It’s hard to earn the trust of marginalized Asian working people who feel unsafe and insecure. Still, for the first time in Flushing history, we achieved this by winning an election centered around worker rights for home care attendants,” Kim said via Twitter following the results. “We won at a time when Asians feel most vulnerable by talking about the ongoing racial and gender violence against Asian immigrant women. From evictions to stolen wages, we centered everything around their pains and voters responded.”

Kim became the first Korean-American elected to the state legislature in 2012, filling the seat vacated by future Congresswoman Grace Meng, which he has held for the past 10 years. During his tenure in office, he has consistently stood up to corporate interests, leading the charge against the development of Amazon’s HQ2, he has been outspoken against Gov. Cuomo’s failure to react in the face of the COVID-19 nursing home deaths, and has continued to be an advocate for small business, elderly residents, and immigrants living in the district.

“In my 22 years in Flushing politics, I have never seen as much shady real-estate money poured into an election as I did this time around,” Kim said. “For weeks, I have encountered endless negative attacks trying shamelessly to distract, lie, and erase the work my office has done and will continue to do for our seniors and immigrant workers. To those dark money groups – I want to say thank you. You have affirmed my belief that I am taking on the right people, the people who exploit the fears of others to enrich themselves.”

Unlike past elections—including the 2020 primaries where Kim won against Democratic candidate Steven Lee by a nearly 40 percent margin—the 2022 primary election was a tight race right up to the end.

Chiu, founder of the New York City Asian American Democratic Club, previously ran against Assemblywoman Nily Rozic in the 2020 primary election. After being contested over the validity of his ballot signatures at an in-person hearing with the Board of Elections, Chiu’s candidacy was withdrawn from the race, handing the Democratic party line to the incumbent.

This year, however, Chiu took no quarter, giving Kim a run for his money in a nail-biter at the polls.

Kim, having just barely won the Democratic ticket, still has more campaigning to do before the general elections in November, when he will face off against GOP candidate Sharon Liao to keep his seat in Albany.

Kim exposes Cuomo

Dear Editor,
Assemblyman Ron Kim of Queens is blowing the whistle on $88 million in state contracts awarded to a politically connected public relations firm.
Kim urged State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to investigate “ludicrous” state contracts given to Kivvit, a PR firm run by former Andrew Cuomo communications staffers Josh Vlasto and Rich Bamberger.
While both managing directors left Kivvit in August, the firm’s current managing partner, Maggie Moran, was Cuomo’s 2018 campaign director. The Post said Kivvit’s contracts were not subject to regular “pre-audit” procedures.
Taxpayers need to know if Kivvit get those contracts via competitive bidding or on a no-bid basis, and if our $88 million was responsibly spent.
For example, what precisely are the “strategic planning & media buying” services that cost SUNY $10 million? Could that money have been used for student financial aid instead?
Kim deserves praise for exposing this scandal, and legislators in Albany must join him in pressing for a probe. They should urge Governor Kathy Hochul to cancel Kivvit’s contracts if they were obtained via illegal or unethical practices.
Richard Reif
Kew Gardens Hills

Why endorse one when you can back two?

A few weeks back, we wrote that endorsements would be hot commodities this election cycle with so many candidates running in local and citywide races.
After all, there would only be so many major endorsements to go around – such as those from labor unions and prominent elected officials and community leaders – before candidates would have to start scraping the bottom of the barrel (no offense intended!) to prove they have a broad base of support and deserve your vote.
But we forgot about ranked-choice voting, which this year will allow voters to list their top five favorite candidates in order of preference
That means if you are a candidate, just because you weren’t the first choice of say the UFT or PBA, doesn’t mean you can’t court one of those unions to state that if they had to pick a second candidate to back, it would be you.
We wondered how many candidates would swallow their pride and go after those type of endorsements, but as it turns out, the endorsers themselves are ahead of the game.
Two elected officials from northeast Queens recently decided to endorse not one, but two candidates in two different City Council races.
Assemblyman Ron Kim announced that he would be co-endorsing both Ellen Young and John Choe in the Democratic Primary for the City Council seat being vacated by Councilman Peter Koo at the end of the year.
In a statement announcing the “first-of-its-kind” endorsement, Kim said he believed both would be “worthy elected leaders for the community.”
Of course, Young was eager to publicize that Kim had endorsed her, so she sent out her own press release touting his support. Naturally, there was no mention of the fact that Kim also endorsed one of her opponents in the race.
About a week later, State Senator John Liu announced he was endorsing two candidates in the Democratic Primary to replace Councilman Barry Grodenchik. But unlike Kim who co-endorsed two candidates, Liu actually stated his preference.
He announced that Linda Lee was his first-choice candidate, followed by Jaslin Kaur at number two. Liu said Lee would “be a most thoughtful and effective member of the City Council,” but also said Kaur would “lead District 23 towards guaranteeing dignity for all.”
We’re so confused!
Lee also sent out a press release announcing the endorsement, which makes sense because she was the top choice. But Kaur seems perfectly content to be a close second in Liu’s eyes. She posted news of the endorsement on her website and social media channels, making it very clear that she was indeed Liu’s second choice.
We guess not only does ranked-choice voting mean that candidates can still get the support of a group or person who has already endorsed their opponent, but it also gives an out to the endorsers who don’t have to choose between two people they already have close relationships with.

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