3:00 pm Aug. 6, 2012
Melinda Katz made official what many local political observers suspected shortly after she publicly acknowledged details about her closely guarded personal life: She's running for Queens borough president.
Katz is a former City Councilwoman who ran for Congress in 1998 (when she lost in the primary to a Council colleague named Anthony Weiner) and was the only female candidate in a 2009 primary for city comptroller, when she finished third in a four-way primary.
Next year's field of borough-president candidates reflects the borough's diversity, somewhat.
Katz is Jewish and came up in Forest Hills, and likely to be the only woman in the race. Her opponents include City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. of Astoria, State Senator Jose Peralta of Jackson Heights, who was the first Dominican-American elected to the State Senate, and City Councilman Leroy Comrie, an African-American from southeast Queens.
Another candidate who I heard is going to enter the race is Barry Grodenchick, a former assemblyman from Flushing who now works as a deputy to the current Queens borough president, Helen Marshall. (She's term-limited at the end of next year.) Vallone told me, "I expect a lot of people to run" and the news about Katz "doesn't affect my plans in any way."
A spokesman for Peralta's campaign said the senator "welcomes her or anyone who chooses to run."
UPDATE: "It's an open seat. Anyone interested in running is more then welcomed to run," Comrie said in a brief interview. The idea of running against two colleagues he served with in the Council didn't bother him. "Melinda is a friend" and "she will stay a friend," said Comrie. "Peter Vallone [Jr.] is a friend. We have daughters the same age."
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