Challenger Accuses Queens Democratic Council Incumbent Of Colluding With Republicans


Juan Ardila, a problem within the Democratic major race for the thirtieth Council District seat in Queens, is claiming that incumbent Robert Holden plans to drag the identical trick he used to win in 2017: operating on the Republican line as a Democrat for the November election, due to an outdated state regulation within the books.

Ardila says that the present Democratic council member will as soon as once more be positioned on the Republican line for a second time period ought to he lose the June twenty second major. He claims that the Republicans within the district are coalescing round Holden as a result of he is the perfect shot in representing their pursuits.

“There is no different Republican that has practically sufficient identify recognition or the help that he has,” Ardila stated of Holden.

Whereas it might sound implausible for a longtime Democrat to run on the GOP line, that is really how Holden received his seat again in 2017. That 12 months, Holden misplaced the Democratic major to then-incumbent Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, however then ran as a Republican in the course of the November basic election, the place he defeated Crowley for the Council seat by 137 votes. Holden, on the time, stated he’d “be silly to not” get on the Republican line to win.

Ardila’s group believes Holden will pull the identical stunt by the Wilson-Pakula Regulation. The obscure state provision permits a celebration to position a non-party member on the poll as long as they file the proper paperwork. Within the case for the thirtieth Council District, the Queens Republican Occasion will play that card and place Holden on their line, Ardila contends.

The present Republican candidate, John Spataro does not presently dwell within the district and hasn’t campaigned but. Ardila believes that Spataro, who unsuccessfully ran for Queens Supreme Courtroom decide, to be a straw candidate who will likely be changed by Holden. Ought to Holden win re-election it can place him among the many few conservative Democrats left on the Council.

The thirtieth Council District covers the neighborhoods of Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth, Center Village, Woodhaven and Woodside. It’s characterised as swing district, with a contingent of registered independents and Republicans.

Whereas Ardila is targeted on enhancing housing, schooling, and public transportation, Holden has maintained his concentrate on enhancing high quality of life within the district with a conservative bent. He has been staunchly against congregant shelters, turning it right into a signature subject when he first ran in 2017. He joined a lawsuit in opposition to a shelter opening on Cooper Avenue in Glendale, which didn’t cease it—it did, nevertheless, propel him to victory.

Ardila and Holden


L: Juan Ardila (offered by marketing campaign); R: Robert Holden (John McCarten-NYC Council)

Holden, a former civic affiliation president, has additionally drafted payments that sought to repeal the ban on police chokeholds whereas additionally supporting a return to the Damaged Home windows-style of policing. His deputy chief of employees, Alicia Vaichunas, brazenly supported Trump on a non-public Fb web page, in keeping with a screenshot shared with Gothamist/WNYC. In a latest mailer for an upcoming fundraiser, Holden stated he seeks to “deliver sanity again to this metropolis.”

Holden and Ardila are the one ones on the Democratic major ticket. And their line of endorsements underscores their model of politics. Ardila, a progressive Democrat, has been endorsed by 1199 SEIU, and state senators Jessica Ramos and Michael Gianaris. Holden has obtained backing from a handful of Democratic legislators, he’s additionally garnered help from police unions, together with the Police Benevolent Affiliation. The PBA made its politics recognized final 12 months when the group endorsed Trump for his failed re-election bid.

Joann Ariola—the pinnacle of the Queens Republican Occasion, who Holden backed throughout her unsuccessful bid for Queens borough president—confirmed Spataro is operating as a Republican. “He’s our candidate,” she stated, “so I am not fairly certain what Mr. Ardila is speaking about.”

“I believe that Mr. Ardila ought to pay extra consideration to his personal major, somewhat than what the Republicans are doing,” Ariola stated. “He is operating in opposition to a very fashionable Councilman, who I believe can win this seat on the Democratic line outright. [He] wouldn’t want a Republican security web.”

Kevin Ryan, a marketing campaign spokesman, denied such collusion would happen.

“There’s no want for the Councilman, a lifelong Democrat, to think about a contingency plan for shedding a major that he’s going to win,” Ryan stated. “He’s been a Democrat twice so long as his challenger has been alive.”