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.