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Aravella Simotas Faces Challenger in 2020 Democratic Primary

(NYC-DSA)

Dec. 9, 2019 By Allie Griffin

Assemblymember Aravella Simotas will face a liberal challenger in next year’s Democratic primary.

Newcomer Zohran Mamdani, a 28-year-old foreclosure housing counselor, is running for the 5-term incumbent’s seat representing District 36 in the New York State Assembly. The district covers Astoria.

The New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (NYC-DSA) formally endorsed Mamdani on Saturday.

The group has worked to defeat the “Queens Machine” and unseat past incumbents with young liberal candidates like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Queens District Attorney candidate Tiffany Cabán.

Mamdani is a longtime organizer with NYC-DSA and served on the Organizing Committee of Queens DSA’s Electoral Working Group in 2019. He was one of the key coordinators of the group’s support for Cabán in the Queens District Attorney race.

In 2017, he served as the paid canvass director for the Khader El-Yateem City Council campaign.

“DSA is my organizing home and it has given me so much in these last few years: a sense of purpose, an expanded political imagination, and the belief that a better world is possible,” Mamdani said in a statement. “I’m honored to have their endorsement and look forward to working alongside my brothers and sister to build working-class power and the socialist movement in Astoria and across our state.”

Mamdani is the only Queens candidate endorsed by the NYC-DSA thus far.

Assemblywoman Simotas welcomed the chance to speak of her accomplishments in office and future priorities during the campaign.

“As Assemblywoman, I’ve taken on powerful opponents and written laws forcing insurance companies to cover pregnant women, requiring police to test rape kits, and more,” Simotas said in a statement. “I’m really looking forward to discussing my record and priorities with my constituents over the course of this campaign.”

The primary election is scheduled for June 23, 2020.

District 36 Map Source: Ballotpedia

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38 Comments

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Astoria Blvd Man

She’s doing a great job. I doubt a Socialist can do any better. In fact, they can do some serious damage. Vote capitalist aka freedom!!

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Kathleen

I don’t think Simotas needs to be primaried from the left. As has been mentioned, she’s a good fit for the area. I see her work all around the neighborhood (and she’s a great booster of Hour Children, which is a charity that does wonderful work.) I’ve heard Nolan is considering retiring, and it would be good to keep the seat in Dem hands.

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Aleka

Those of you who think that Mamdani does not have a chance do not realize how much the neighborhood has changed. Look at how Astoria overwhelmingly voted for Tiffany Caban and got her so close to Katz this year. AOC support is also very high among many young working renters and minorities in Astoria. My neighbors already got people knocking on thier doors who were campaigning for Mamdani. I guess they did not ring my bell because I own my home here and I am above 40 yrs old.

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Latinos4Trump

I suppose you missed the memo. Red is the new blue, pal. There is no room for moderates in the Democrat party. The blue you’re voting for no longer exists.

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Rosa

Simotas, Gianaris and Constantinides all need to be voted out. They no longer represent the diverse and changing neighborhood of Astoria.

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Kathleen

Well Costa is term-limited out and running for Beep. I think his efforts for green energy are particularly important. I think that Gianaris is an outstanding leader, and Simotas is very responsive and focused on the community.

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The Last Caucasian

Meh, meet the new guard same as the old guard. Same old power play. Don’t be naive. Oh, and you can keep your “diversity”. My block is still homogeneous for a bit longer.

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If diversity hurts your feelings you're in the wrong city

You sound a little fragile, move to a Republican paradise like Alabama

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diversity of thought

if diverse political opinions rattle your fragile personality in a diverse borough like Queens maybe you should move to a socialist paradise like Venezuela

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balls2dawall

Astoria isn’t as so diverse as it is now being inundated with higher income earners and families alike. These candidates are only appealing to those who feel left out of the picture and never had any desire to figure out what it means to live in a capitalist society.
Also, i’m sick of them pandering to specific groups because of their ethnicity or sexual orientation. What does that have to do with your experience and actual political qualifications? They have found a weak and vulnerable class that is easily swayed. Same reason Trump won

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No thanks Comrade

I must assume he’s proposing that his three family houses around the world and the servants that come with them be turned into a community trust.

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Private property should be abolished

Sorry but wrong and wrong. Do a simple search. He comes from a very wealthy family with estates in Uganda and India, a home in New York City, and until recently also had a Chelsea apartment they were renting out for $6500 per month. And I’m definitely not a Trumpster but your narrow mind can’t conceive of a liberal who also calls out the hypocrisy of these DSA clowns.

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bill Montgomery

Haven’t come across anything claiming Uganda, etc. Consider it Fake News until sources are provided.

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He doesn't come from a very wealthy family with estates in Uganda and India

The New Yorker? Lol. Fake news.

bb

I have no idea why that would be likely to happen. Simotas was involved in removing the IDC from the state senate. AOC would have no reason to endorse her opponent, and since most of the votes for AOC came from Simotas’ district, it would be not wise to alienate those supporters. If anyone from LIC/Astoria needs a healthy primary challenger from a DSA-backed opponent, it’s Carolyn Maloney.

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Max

I agree. Simotas is a really good fit for the district. I actually met Zohran in Astoria Park and he seemed like a very nice guy, but I think he’s wasting his energy in the wrong race

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Greg

Does he even live in Astoria? At least, Tiffany lived in AOC’s district of Astoria when AOC endorsed her.

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They call me Comrade

He moved to Astoria last year. Woohoo.

Aravella is authentic and grew up in the neighborhood with hard working parents who made their way up. She understands the experience of people who had to work for what they have.

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Jen

Zohran Mamdani definitely has the support of so many people in Astoria! Its time we elect someone who actually represents the present and future of Astoria. Its time the silent majority throughout our community go out and vote for change. Be heard!

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Pat Macnamara

Never heard of him. This site is pushing the socialist agenda. How’s that working out? Crime on the rise, homeless all over Astoria, empty storefronts, garbage everywhere. The socialists cheer the fact that Amazon won’t be in LIC. Yippeeee. Where does the tax revenue come from then? Yeah there are new buildings for the influx of people who can’t afford the upper east side. great.

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Pat Macnamaracist I'm not surprised you're out of the loop

Maybe local politics isn’t for you. Just blather about the “socialist agenda” again and move on.

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The Last Caucasian

Macnamara is more versed in local politics than just about anyone else on this board. It’s just that the coddled juvenile denizens here can’t stand the truth.

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Latinos4Trump

Yup, the commie left destroying everything while endlessly spouting “diversity” blather. There is no “future”, Jen, in a polyglot society. It will only end in failure.

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If diversity hurts your feelings you should move

This is NYC, if hearing more than one language offends you, move to a Republican paradise like Alabama.

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Latinos4Trump

I have been “hearing” and speaking more than one language in NYC for more than 52 years now. My post has nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats. Polyglot societies always fail and this one will be no different.

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fran

People who can not afford the upper east side go to Brooklyn or LIC. Astoria is full of people who can not afford those areas and people who have been pushed out because of the redevelopment and high rentals. Astoria is a lot cheaper compared to Manhattan, Brooklyn and LIC. There are plenty of old homes and building that can accommodate the cheaper prices and Astoria is considered multi cultural and economically diverse.

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Bill Montgomery

I thought that was a result of capitalism? We do after all live in that society, not in Denmark.

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